Christmas in Japan

How do I wish someone there a Happy Christmas?

  • Merii Kurisumasu

When do they give presents?

  • Christmas Day – if at all. New Year is a much bigger holiday.

Who brings the presents?

  • Santa Claus, although sometimes Hotei, the God of Contentment and Happiness does the job.

What’s on the menu?

  • Kentucky Fried Chicken. Thanks to an advert in the 1970s it’s now synonymous with Christmas in Japan. Dessert is strawberry shortcake.

Any other traditions I should know about?

  • It isn’t an official holiday, but the Japanese have embraced many aspects of Christmas, including trees, decorations and illuminations. Most cities and towns will have displays lighting up landmarks and parks.
  • Christmas Eve is the most romantic day of the year. It’s the equivalent of St Valentine’s Day, with restaurants fully booked and single people looking for dates.
  • Christmas markets are popular in Japan. Mirroring the ones in Europe, you can get everything from Christmas trees to mulled wine.