Fun Facts About Christmas in Japan

Published by MartaCastro on

Curiosities about Christmas in Japan

Japan´s original religion is Shinto and second main religion is Buddhism brought from China. Only a small percentage of Japanese are Christian, therefore, it is only natural that we do not find a national holiday in the country dedicated Christmas.

As December approaches, Japanese streets and stores become decorated with Christmas themes and lights. Although Japanese celebrates Christmas in a different way, you can still feel it throughout the country. Similar to Halloween, during Christmas time you will be able to find traditional decorating ornaments and many other products on sale at most major shopping centres and department stores.

5 Fun facts about Christmas in Japan:

Fun Fact number 1 – Valentine’s Day

The first curiosity is that this time of the year is more about spending time with friends rather than family.  Couples make plans to meet up for dinner and celebrate. Actually, Christmas Eve (24th Dec) is the most romantic day of the year. We can say that it is the Japanese version of Valentine’s Day.  Japanese couples book dinners at romantic restaurants and exchange gifts. This time of the year in Japan is known as a time to spread happiness, rather than a religious celebration.

Fun Fact number 2 – Christmas Cake

We can find Japanese Christmas cake or “kurisumasu keki”  on practically every corner. This dessert is a light and spongy cake with whipped cream filling and frosting and red strawberries. This delicious dessert is very popular and it represents prosperity.

Fun Fact number 3 – KFC as a Christmas meal

It has been estimated that every year 3.6 million Japanese families get their Christmas holiday meal surprisingly, from Kentucky Fried Chicken. Can you believe that the demand is so high that people start placing their orders for the special Christmas menu six weeks in advance? And the wait in line on Christmas day is so long that it takes hours for people to get their meal.

This tradition seems to go back more than 40 years when Takeshi Okawara, KFC manager at that time, had the idea of a “party bucket”. So 1974, KFC Japan launched a Christmas marketing campaign that proved to be a huge success and today it is the most popular meal for Christmas in Japan.  However, we can understand families getting together and sharing a meal, it has something that reminds us of the purpose of Christmas! 

Fun Fact 4 – Winter illuminations

It is incredible how the entire country goes over the top with illuminations! Shopping malls, restaurants, streets, and public areas have the most incredible lights that fill anyone with Christmas joy.

Fun Fact 5 – Christmas Markets

If are able to visit Japan this time of the year, you will be able to find everything from Christmas tree, lovely ornaments to mulled wine, the typical German Christmas Markets are a great night out with friends and family.

While it may be a little different from what you might expect, Christmas is still present in Japan and you can still have a wonderful time filled with Christmas spirit.

Categories: ENG


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