What’s Christmas Like In Japan?

by Jeanette Kanaguri


What’s Christmas like in Japan? ~ 日本のクリスマスはどうですか?

Dear Beautiful Soul,

I hope November is treating you well. It started to be cold in Munich, Germany.  And darker much earlier in the evenings. I like it. It feels so cosy to be inside. Do you also like it?

What’s Christmas like in Japan?

As you may know Christmas comes from Christianity. And the name ‘Christmas’ comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass service is where Christians remember that Jesus died for us and then came back to life. So, we get the name ChristMass, shortened to Christmas.

In Japan only about one percent of Japan’s population (one to two million Japanese) are Christians. Many Christians live in Western part of Japan where missionaries’ activities were greatest during the 16th century.

With that in the mind not so many Japanese celebrate Christmas in the way as we know it in the Western world.

Romantic Christmas Dinner

Japanese don’t have any national holidays around Christmas, (Christmas Eve 24. December and Christmas Day 25. December), and is a normal working day in Japan. It means also, that the Japanese families don’t gather. Instead many Japanese couples celebrate Christmas Eve with a festive dinner at home or in a restaurant. And some restaurants have special Christmas menus.

Below picture is from my last Christmas in Japan. At home. I liked it. It was very cosy just celebrating Christmas with my husband.


Christmas Dinner

Christmas Cake

The shops have special Christmas meals like Chicken with teriyaki sauce. And all the bakeries have special Christmas cakes (クリスマスケーキ~ kurisumasu keki) which typically are a light sponge cake decorated with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. And on the top of the cake there’re also small decorations (see the picture on the top). It’s very cute.


In Western cultures where Christmas are celebrated it’s a tradition to exchange presents. However, in Japan it’s only the children that receive a small present when they wake up on the 24. of December.

Much November-Love,



Featured image is from Foodzilla, and the picture on top of the blog post is from Precious.

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