Archives for November 2020

Christmas Markets in Tokyo 2020

Japan has some odd ways to celebrate Christmas. 

Christmas in Japan is a couple’s day, it’s not a day off, and it’s common to celebrate by eating KFC. 

Yes. Not just any fried chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken.

However, one (normal) tradition that has made it’s way to the Far East is Christmas Markets!

This 600 year old German tradition is celebrated in various parts of Japan and some of the best ones are right here in Tokyo!

So in this article, we’ll be introducing some of the best Christmas Markets you can find in Tokyo in 2020!

Warning: because of coronavirus, some places may restrict entrance or even cancel to event itself so do further research before you go!

Roppongi hills

The Roppongi Hills Christmas Market will be celebrating its 14th Christmas in 2020. This event is sponsored by Volkswagen, a German car company, so you know that this Christmas market is legitimate!

This event features a total of 7 shops, 3 for authentic German cuisines and 4 for German Christmas goods. Also, the Keyakizaka Street illuminations are close-by, so you can enjoy incredible illuminations on the way to the market. 

It doesn’t get any more authentic than this!

Info

Date & Time: 11/28/2020 – 12/25/2020 11:00 – 21:00

Access: Roppongi Hills O-Yane Plaza 

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.roppongihills.com/en/sp/christmas/2020/illumination-event/market.html

Yokohama red brick warehouse

We visited the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Markets last year and it was nothing short of amazing. There were about 20 small vendors, set up in front of the brick houses to form an alley. 

At the end of the alley is a 10m tall Christmas tree shining brighter than any Christmas tree in Japan. 

Perfect spot for any date.

Info

Date & Time: Dec 4th 2020 – Dec 25th 2020 11:00 – 21:00

Access: Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse #2

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.yokohama-akarenga.jp/christmas/

Tokyo christmas market

The Tokyo Christmas Market opens again this year in 2 locations: Hibiya Park and Shinjuku Odakyu Park. This Christmas Market is easily recognizable by the Christmas Pyramid standing tall in the middle. 

Info

Date & Time: Dec 10 – Dec 25 11:00 – 22:00

Access: Hibiya Park

Admission: Free

Website: https://tokyochristmas.net/

Tokyo tower

Celebrate Christmas right under the iconic Tokyo Tower at the Ennichi Terrace Christmas Market! This Christmas Market is set up right at the base of Tokyo Tower and you can enjoy both Japanese and foreign foods!

Info

Date & Time: Oct 30 – Jan 11 

Weekdays 16:00 – 21:30 / Weekends & Holidays 11:00 – 21:30

Access: Tokyo Tower 1st Floor Entrance

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.tokyotower.co.jp/event/attraction-event/christmas-market2020/index.html

Conclusion

Unfortunately, some Christmas Markets, such as the Ebisu Garden Place Marche de Noël, are not being held this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. At the same time, it’s also great to see that coronavirus countermeasures, such as requiring a mask and taking temperatures, are taken at the ones that are taking places this year. 

Whichever one you decide to go to, you’re bound to have a great Christmas time! Let’s be safe and have a Merry Merry Christmas!

Which Christmas Market will you be attending this year?

Illuminations in Tokyo

As winter begins, the days are becoming shorter in Japan. While this means that your daytime is limited, it’s finally the season for Christmas decorations!

One of the best ways to celebrate Christmas in Japan is to watch illuminations, and this is especially true in Tokyo. Different parts of the city light up with incredible light decorations, competing to attract the crowds. 

If you’ll be enjoying Christmas in Tokyo this year, here is a list of different places to check out the winter Christmas illuminations in 2020!

Warning: because of coronavirus, some places may restrict entrance or even cancel to event itself so do further research before you go!

Illuminations in Tokyo

marunouchi

Info

Date & Time: Nov 5 – Feb 4 15:00 – 23:00 (24:00 in December)

Access: Marunouchi Naka Dori, Around Tokyo Station, Otemachi Naka Dori

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.marunouchi.com/event/detail/25828/

Tokyo midtown

Info

Date & Time: 11/19/2020 – 2/28/2021

Access: Tokyo Midtown (Roppongi) 

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.tokyo-midtown.com/jp/event/wintermoments/

Ebisu garden place

Info

Date & Time: 11/14/2020 – 1/11/2021 11:00 – 24:00

Access: Ebisu Garden Place Plaza

Admission: Free

Website: https://gardenplace.jp/special/2020baccarat/

Omotesando

Info

Date & Time: 12/1/2020 – 12/25/2020 17:00 – 22:00

Access: Harajuku Station to Omotesando Station

Admission: Free

Website: http://omotesando.or.jp/illumi/

Tokyu plaza rooftop

Info

Date & Time: 11/17/2020 – 17:00 – 23:00

Access: Tokyu Plaza 6th Floor

Admission: Free

Website: https://omohara.tokyu-plaza.com/news/news.html?_id=1214

Tokyo dome city

Info

Date & Time: 11/13/2020 – 12/25/2020 17:00 – 24:00

Access: Tokyo Dome City

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/en/tourists/illumination/

Keyakizaka street illumination

Info

Date & Time: 11/13/2020 – 12/25/2020 17:00 – 23:00

Access: Roppongi Keyakizaka Street

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.roppongihills.com/sp/christmas/2020/illumination-event/keyakizaka.html

Yomiuri land

Info

Date & Time: 10/22/2020 – 4/4/2021 16:00 – 20:30

Access: Yomiuri Land

Admission: 1,500 yen for adults

Website: https://www.yomiuriland.com/jewellumination/guidance/

tokyo city keiba

Info

Date & Time: 11/7/2020 – 1/11/2021 16:30 – 21:30

Access: Tokyo City Keiba

Admission: 1000 yen

Website: https://tokyomegaillumi.jp/

tokyo midtown hibiya "Magic time illumination"

Info

Date & Time: 11/17/2020 – 12/25/2020 17:00 – 23:00

Access: Tokyo Midtown Hibiya

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.hibiya.tokyo-midtown.com/xmas/

Honorable mention

Tokyo has some amazing Christmas illuminations, but there are places in other parts of Japan that are just as incredible, if not more. Here are some noteworthy places to take a visit to!

nabana no sato (Mie)

Info

Date & Time: 10/24/2020 – 5/31/2021 

10:00 – 21:00 (22:00 on weekends, holidays, except January and February)

Access: Nabana no Sato

Admission: 2,300 yen

Website: https://www.nagashima-onsen.co.jp/nabana/illumination/index.html

huis ten bosch (nagasaki)

Info

Date & Time: 11/1/2020 – 12/25/2020 

Access: Huis Ten Bosch

Admission: 7,000 yen

Website: https://www.huistenbosch.co.jp/event/hikari/

Conclusion

While there are many places to see the Christmas illuminations on this list, it’s nowhere close to being a complete list. There are many smaller places and random streets around Tokyo that have fantastic illuminations as well!

What is your favorite place to watch Christmas illuminations?

Ways to celebrate Christmas in Japan

メリークリスマス!
Merry Christmas everyone!
 
Christmas is near and it’s that time of the year to gather at the fireplace, open Santa’s thoughtful gifts, and have a lovely family Christmas dinner!
 
Christmas is celebrated in Japan too and you can feel the holiday spirits here in Tokyo! However, when it comes to Japanese Christmas traditions, things are very different compared to western countries. 
 
KFC is the main food for Christmas, it’s not a day off for schools and offices, and people tend to celebrate with their loved ones rather than their families! You could say that Japan has its own way of celebrating Christmas. If you’re curious about these differences, check out our Youtube video for more!

That isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy Christmas in Japan, so in this article, we will explore some of those differences as well as many different ways that you can enjoy Christmas in Japan!

go Watch some illuminations

In Japan, people don’t decorate their homes. Rather, public places like malls and parks are the ones being decorated and they are on another level. Since Japan is a business-oriented country, lots of big companies see Christmas as a good way to market and attract people, so they compete with one another to get the biggest and baddest Christmas setup. 

Seriously, they are nothing short of AMAZING. 

The quality of these illuminations (light decorations) are up there with Disneyland. There are many different places that have illuminations, so I highly recommend stopping by one!

Visit a Christmas Markets

One Christmas tradition that Japan has successfully adopted is Christmas markets (perhaps due to Japan’s love for beer)! Most Christmas Markets in Tokyo also have amazing illuminations which makes it a magical experience (great for dates). 

Most markets are open all through December, so come stop by, eat some hot dogs or takoyaki, sip on some hot chocolate or beer, and enjoy the Christmas holidays!

Christmas Markets are always a fun time for everyone!

eat strawberry shortcake

The Christmas fruitcake equivalent in Japan is the strawberry shortcake. 
If you’ve ever had cake or been to a bakery in Japan, you should already know that Japan’s pastries are INCREDIBLE
 
Nothing else needs to be said. 

Have your own christmas get together with a nabe party

KFC gets packed and if you’re celebrating Christmas in Japan, why not celebrate with Japanese food?
 
Nabe, aka Japanese hotpot, is the staple winter food in Japan and is sold at pretty much every supermarket. It’s super easy to make, has lots of nutrients, and warms up your body. 
 
What can be better than gathering friends and family at the Kotatsu table and sharing a big pot of nabe? 

go snowboarding

Another great way to celebrate Christmas can be on the slopes!
 
Japan is made up of 80% or so mountains and there are literally thousands of ski resorts in this island country. If you love skiing or snowboarding, you can check out our most recommended ski resorts in Japan!
 

Share some gifts

Christmas is the season of giving and while you’re in Japan, why not get a Japanese gift for a loved one? Since Japan is all about business, there are many high-quality Christmas gifts you can find in Japan. Around Christmas time, you can find gifts being sold everywhere from big shopping malls to the middle of the JR station. 
 
This Christmas, show a loved one how much they mean to you!

Conclusion

The Christmas traditions are different in Japan, but that doesn’t mean that the Christmas spirit isn’t there! Wherever you are in the world, I hope that Santa comes by with many presents and that you have a wonderful Christmas season this year!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!