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    Christmas in Tokyo: A journey through the city's holiday wonderland

    By Sumire Yamada

    August 4, 2023

    Christmas in Tokyo: A journey through the city's holida

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    As early as November, Tokyo begins to show signs of the holiday cheer that's to come. This isn't your ordinary November in Japan - the entire park areas, shopping malls, and streets are adorned with festive Christmas decorations, and colorful light displays transform Tokyo into a Winter Wonderland. Imagine walking down a street, under the gentle glow of Christmas lights, with the promise of the upcoming Christmas season making the air crackle with anticipation.

    Tokyo Midtown becomes an epicenter of early Christmas festivities.

    Beautiful moments await around every corner, with special events like the enchanting 'Puro Christmas' show and stunning Christmas tree displays that invite visitors for that perfect photo spot.

    The shops start buzzing with people searching for the perfect Christmas gifts. Ice skating rinks emerge, offering Tokyoites and visitors alike a chance to glide into the holiday season under the sparkle of lights. But Tokyo's Christmas wouldn't be complete without food. The city offers an array of Christmas dessert buffets and fried chicken - a surprising but beloved Christmas Day meal in Japan. So, whether you visit Tokyo in early November or early December, Tokyo's Christmas will wrap you in its warm, festive embrace.

    Christmas illuminations: A city of festive lights

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    When you step into Christmas in Tokyo, you're stepping into a wonderland of sparkling lights and breathtaking illuminations. Starting in early November, the city starts to shine with Christmas lights, transforming the streets, buildings, and parks into a luminous canvas of holiday cheer.

    Places like Tokyo Tower, Roppongi Hills, and Tokyo Skytree don't just light up; they become mesmerizing pieces of a festive, city-wide art installation.

    Each area, from the enchanting Shibuya Blue Cave to the iconic Tokyo Station, offers a unique spectacle.

    The magic truly comes alive as you stroll down the elegantly illuminated Keyakizaka Street in Roppongi Hills, where blue and white lights form a stunning contrast to the winter sky. Head over to Tokyo Midtown, and you'll be awestruck by the gorgeous Christmas illuminations at Tokyo Michi Terrace. Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree, two of the city's most famous landmarks, embrace the festive season with awe-inspiring light shows, while popular aquariums join in, adding a vibrant splash of color to the city's Christmas palette. No visit to Tokyo during the Christmas period is complete without checking out the small shops offering festive Christmas decorations and gifts, making your experience all the more delightful. From the glow of countless lights to the jubilant atmosphere, celebrating Christmas in Tokyo is nothing short of magical.

    Tokyo Christmas markets: Gifts, mulled Wine, and good luck charms

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    Tokyo truly shines during the Christmas season, and nowhere is this more apparent than at its bustling Christmas markets. Starting in early November, festive stalls begin to appear throughout the city, creating a vibrant holiday atmosphere that's hard to resist. From traditional Christmas gifts to uniquely Japanese good-luck charms, these markets are a treasure trove for anyone looking to indulge in the holiday spirit.

    One of the must-visit locations is the Roppongi Hills Christmas market, not too far from Tokyo Midtown. Each stall is a delight, packed with beautiful decorations, special gifts, and of course, plenty of tasty treats. Enjoy the sight of a brightly lit Christmas tree as you sip on a cup of warm mulled wine, soaking in the joyous atmosphere.

    Equally stunning is the Tokyo Michi Terrace at Tokyo Station, which comes alive with breathtaking illuminations, turning the entire area into a winter wonderland.

    Whether you're hunting for the perfect photo spot or just want to bask in the festive glow, Tokyo's Christmas markets are a delightful part of celebrating Christmas in the city.

    Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Resort: A Christmas wonderland

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    If you thought Tokyo was magical during Christmas, just wait until you see Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Resort! During the holiday season, these iconic locations transform into a captivating wonderland of Christmas lights and decorations, with every inch of the park beaming with festive cheer. Special Christmas costumes donned by your favorite Disney characters add a delightful touch to the celebration, making the experience even more enchanting for visitors of all ages.

    Christmas at Tokyo Disney Resort is not just about festive decorations and twinkling lights; it's about creating unforgettable memories.

    Picture this: Strolling down the park, you're surrounded by spectacular Christmas illuminations, Disney Christmas events, and towering Christmas trees, all set against the backdrop of Cinderella's castle. Christmas Day here is no ordinary affair; it's a joyous celebration filled with special events, heartwarming shows, and delightful surprises.

    From the colorful parades to the joyous cheer of the crowd, Christmas in Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Resort truly encapsulates the spirit of the festive season. It's more than just a visit; it's a magical journey that captures the essence of celebrating Christmas in Tokyo.

    Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Tokyo

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    The excitement in Tokyo builds as Christmas Eve rolls around. Unlike many other places where Christmas Day is the main event, here in Tokyo, Christmas Eve takes the spotlight. The city is alive with people going out on dates or spending time with friends, enjoying the beautiful Christmas illuminations, such as those at Shibuya's Blue Cave or Roppongi's Keyakizaka Street. A stroll under these sparkling lights, especially with a loved one, is an essential Tokyo Christmas experience.

    Then there's the food! If you thought the Christmas dessert buffets at Tokyo's markets were something, wait till you see the Christmas day tradition.

    Believe it or not, it involves fried chicken - specifically, it's become a custom for many to order Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) as their Christmas meal! This tasty twist Tokyoites have added to their Christmas day celebration is a unique cultural phenomenon that truly adds a special flavor to the holiday spirit.

    Also, don't forget to visit the Naked Star Aquarium or Yebisu Garden Place for a dose of holiday magic, as both spots put on special events during this time.

    Christmas at Tokyo Beach and Decks Tokyo Beach

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    Tokyo Beach and Decks Tokyo Beach take Christmas celebrations to a whole new level. Situated at the stunning Odaiba Bay, they transform into a kaleidoscope of colorful lights and holiday cheer during the Christmas season. It's not just the views of the illuminated Rainbow Bridge that are awe-inspiring. They go all out with stunning Christmas illuminations that create a magical atmosphere, offering beautiful photo spots at every turn.

    But the visual delights are just part of the story. Decks

    Tokyo Beach houses a popular aquarium where you can enjoy the sight of sea creatures swimming amidst beautifully lit Christmas trees.

    There are also special Christmas events, including Christmas markets filled with gifts and special Christmas costumes. Imagine walking distance from the beach, indulging in a Christmas dessert buffet while enjoying Puro Christmas shows at Tokyo Midtown. And if you're feeling adventurous, you can even strap on some ice skates and glide under the enchanting Christmas lights. From early November to mid-February, Tokyo Beach and Decks Tokyo Beach are places to celebrate Christmas in Tokyo.

    Tokyo Station and Shinjuku Station: Holiday hustle and bustle

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    Tokyo Station and Shinjuku Station, two iconic transit hubs, do Christmas in a uniquely Tokyo style. They transform into hubs of holiday energy, bringing a festive buzz to the everyday commuter hustle.

    Tokyo Station hosts the mesmerizing Tokyo Michi Terrace, where illuminations cast a magical glow over the entire building.

    It's not just about lights, though. The place teems with tiny stalls offering an array of festive treats, including decadent Christmas dessert buffets. It's a sight to behold and an absolute must for your Tokyo Christmas itinerary.

    Over at Shinjuku Station, the atmosphere is equally festive and lively. The Christmas lights here are a spectacle on their own, bringing a unique warmth to the station's everyday scene. Around here, it's hard to miss the locals' favorite Christmas Day tradition - enjoying fried chicken with friends and family.

    Popular attractions: Winter highlights in Tokyo

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    When the holiday season rolls in, Tokyo's popular attractions put on their festive best, promising an unforgettable Christmas in Tokyo. Take the Naked Star Aquarium, for example. A popular aquarium in the city's heart transforms into an enchanting underwater Christmas spectacle.

    You'll find yourself surrounded by swirling lights that mimic the ocean currents, creating a dreamlike atmosphere while sea creatures add to the spectacle.

    It's like diving into a holiday-themed sea right in the middle of Tokyo!

    Another must-see highlight is Keyakizaka Street in Roppongi Hills. Every year, this lively boulevard gets decked out in an extravagant display of colorful lights, creating one of Tokyo's most iconic Christmas scenes. It's a picture-perfect spot that you won't want to miss! But that's not all. Head over to Yebisu Garden Place, and you'll find an ice skating rink right beneath a towering Christmas tree. The entire area buzzes with Christmas markets, food stalls serving everything from fried chicken to warming drinks, and plenty of special Christmas costumes to get you in the festive spirit. No matter when you visit Tokyo, from early November to Mid-February, you'll find the city's attractions brimming with Christmas cheer.

    Ending the year: New Year's Eve and New Year celebrations

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    As Christmas day fades into the last week of December, Tokyo seamlessly transitions from the jingle of Christmas bells to the traditional rhythm of the New Year celebrations. The glittering Christmas decorations remain as the city gears up to bid adieu to the old year and welcome the new one. The ice-skating rinks and Christmas markets, full of life and laughter, continue to spread cheer, inviting everyone to soak in the joyous atmosphere.

    When the clock starts ticking towards midnight on New Year's Eve, a deeply resonating sound fills the air - the Joya no Kane. This age-old Buddhist custom involves ringing a temple bell 108 times to cleanse us of the 108 worldly desires according to Buddhist beliefs.

    As the bell's echo fades, fireworks light up the sky, marking the start of the new year. From Tokyo Disneyland to the Shibuya Blue Cave, each place in the city hosts its unique New Year celebrations, ensuring a blend of traditional customs and modern festivities. The holiday season in Tokyo is an immersive experience that captivates the senses and creates lasting memories.

    Tokyo's unique Christmas spirit

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    So, there you have it! Christmas in Tokyo is truly an experience like no other, an enchanting blend of age-old traditions and modern celebrations. From early November, the city is bedecked in beautiful lights and decorations, and the spirit of the festive season seeps into every corner.

    Stroll around the lively Christmas markets, be mesmerized by the illuminations, or revel in the diverse food offerings – each experience is unique and delightful. As the year-end approaches, Tokyo seamlessly transitions from Christmas cheer to New Year festivities, all while keeping its traditional roots intact. Whether it's your first time visiting Tokyo or you're a returning traveler, the city's holiday offerings are sure to make your trip memorable. Come and be a part of the festivities; celebrate Christmas the Tokyo way!

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