The holiday season in Japan seems to be celebrated the exact opposite way as it is in western countries. Did you know Christmas Eve in Japan is the most romantic day of the year. It’s the Japanese version of Valentine’s Day.
Reading up on the topic, it seems Japanese couples, especially the youngest, book dinners at romantic restaurants, the stores sell romantic Christmas gifts, and the streets are decorated to perfection to embody this most romantic day. Well, you could say the same for the UK…however the Japanese take it to a another level.
The Emperor’s Birthday is on Monday, December 23, which this year will mean the Japanese will enjoy a long weekend. Since Emperor Akihito is scheduled to abdicate on 30 April 2019, Crown Prince Naruhito’s birthday on 23 February will become the date of the Emperor’s Birthday holiday from 2020.
Japanese Christmas traditions
Japan Christmas Cake
The Japanese Christmas cake or “kurisumasu keki” is sold on practically every street corner from Hokkaido to Kyushu! This dessert is light and spongy with whipped cream filling and frosting, topped with perfectly cut deep red strawberries. It sounds delicious!
Japanese Christmas Markets
Just like in Europe, Japan hosts typical Christmas markets from the beginning to the end of winter season.
Christmas Shopping in Japan
Exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve has become a tradition between couples, but hasn’t expanded beyond that. Japan has its very own exchange-gift day in December, a kind of a Japanese Secret Santa, a work-culture tradition of Oseibo (end of the year). Also, New Year presents are a huge deal in Japan.
Weather forecast for Christmas in Japan
December and January are good months to visit this majestic country, as the weather is usually sunny and dry. However, in northern Japan and along the Japanese coast, there is lots of snow at Christmas so it can be one of the best times to visit.
The upside to this is that the conditions for winter sports are unbeatable and definitely worth a stop in one of the Japanese onsens. The Japanese Alps have some of the top ski resorts in the world.