Christmas around the world is celebrated differently according to local customs. This is also true in Japan where Christianity isn’t the main religion nor is it one with a significant presence.
Over the years however, Japan has adopted different customs from other countries such as sending Christmas Cards and giving presents. Spectacular Christmas light displays are also commonly set up in parks and major shopping districts in cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and other capitals. Rather than a religious celebration, Christmas in Japan is a secular occasion that is considered a time to spread cheer and joy.
Christmas Eve, in particular, is considered important as it is the Japanese equivalent of Valentine’s Day in western cultures. Young couples will celebrate with romantic dinners and walk along the many elaborate Christmas displays.
Christmas in Japan is not a national holiday, so shops and schools won’t be closed for the day. For younger children, parties are held where delicious treats such as Japanese Christmas Cake, a sponge cake often decorated with icing to resemble snow with Christmas icons such as Santa, Christmas Trees, reindeer, and snowflakes. Fried chicken, candy canes, and chocolates are also a popular part of Christmas food.
If you ever find yourself in Japan over the holidays do try experiencing Christmas like the locals.