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5 things you should know about Christmas in Japan

By Guidable Writers Dec 19, 2017


Christmas is a religious event in most of the countries. But it is not in Japan. Families do not gather to celebrate Christmas, apart from the families that have kids who still believe that Santa Claus brings them presents. But Christmas is not an event only for kids in Japan, and it is very important for couples too, and the way to celebrate Christmas in Japan is a bit different from other countries.

But how different? Here is some information that you should know about Christmas in Japan.

  1. Christmas Day is not a holiday

Christmas Day is a holiday in most of the countries, but it is not in Japan. If you are a student, the winter holiday starts before Christmas Day in most of the schools, therefore you do not need to go to school. But you need to go to work if you are working as usual.

Also, since Christmas is not a holiday, most of the shops and restaurants are open on Christmas day. Therefore you can enjoy Christmas shopping even on Christmas Day and having a nice meal in a restaurant. Actually, having a Christmas dinner is popular for couples and you are recommended to book a table and meal if you are planning to have dinner in a restaurant.

  1. Christmas is very important for couples

Christmas is a very important event for family in most of countries. But Japan is a little different from other countries as Christmas is not a religious event in Japan. Families do not have to gather to celebrate Christmas. Christmas is a very important event for couples in Japan and they spend time together, like going out for a nice Christmas dinner, staying in a nice hotel, going to see beautiful Christmas light ups. Going to Tokyo Disney land or Disney Sea is popular too, especially for young couples.

Some people feel it is a little embarrassing to be alone on Christmas Day and try to find a partner before Christmas. But do not worry if you do not have a partner. You do not have to find a partner just for Christmas and there are plenty of ways to enjoy Christmas without a partner.


  1. Christmas Eve is important too

It is said that Christmas  Eve is important in Japan too, as it is very important for some people who they spend time on Christmas Eve with. For example, if you are not seeing someone, but you want to be in a relationship with him/her and you are not sure how they are feeling about you, you can ask them if you can see them on Christmas Eve or you can wait for them to ask you if you can see them then. And if you can see him/her then, it means you will be seeing them soon.

Also, if you are seeing someone, but your partner might have to attend a Christmas party at their company or go back to see their family, you might not be able to see your partner on Christmas Day, but if your partner arranges to meet you on Christmas Eve, it means you are important to them.

You could say that people try to know how important they are to their partner if they can spend time together on Christmas Eve as well as Christmas Day.

  1. KFC and a sponge cake covered with whipped cream

What do you eat for Christmas in your country? Maybe turkey must be popular. People eat chicken and cakes on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve in Japan. Therefore, KFC are very busy around Christmas time and you will see people queuing in KFC or in front of KFC to buy chicken. Also, many supermarkets and convenience stores sell special chicken for Christmas on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

Cakes that people eat in Japan are a little bit different from the ones in other countries. People eat cakes that contains dried fruits in most of the countries but people eat cakes that covered with whipped cream and is decorated with a lot of strawberries in Japan. Nowadays “Bush de Noel”, which is covered with whipped chocolate cream and is in the shape of a tree, is popular too. You are recommended to order a cake in advance, otherwise you cannot get it on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve as they might be sold out by then.

  1. Christmas presents

Kids are looking forward to getting Christmas presents in Japan as much as kids in other countries. Normally the parents put the presents under the Christmas tree or next to their pillows while they are sleeping, and they open the present straight away after they wake up on Christmas day or Christmas Eve.

When people get older, they don’t get a Christmas present from parents, but it is very common to exchange presents with friends or give a present to your partner.

People usually expect to get a nice, little bit expensive present from their partner. Popular presents for female are a ring, a necklace, a watch and so on, and popular present for male are a watch, a wallet and so on.

It is getting common to send Christmas cards to your friends or family in Japan but it is more important to send New Year’s Cards in Japan, therefore you do not have to send Christmas Cards.  But young people tend to send both Christmas Cards and New Year’s Cards.


Hope this information helps you understand how people spend Christmas in Japan and what it is like. Christmas is an event for fun for Japanese, and there are plenty of events that you can have fun around Christmas time.

Why not enjoy “Japanese Christmas” this year, and very Merry Christmas!!