How to Celebrate a Japanese Christmas

Christmas was introduced to Japan just a few decades ago, but since then, it has become very popular. The way the people of Japan celebrate Christmas, however, is quite a bit different than in other countries. This article will explain the differences and teach you how to celebrate Christmas in Japanese style.


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    Focus on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is the real day of celebration in Japan, not Christmas itself, so put an emphasis on December 24th.
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    Spend the holiday with your beloved. In Japan, Christmas is seen as a romantic holiday more than anything. Men take their girlfriends out for fancy dinners on Christmas Eve, and couples buy each other gifts. (Children, on the other hand, typically don't.) If you have a lover, Christmas is a great time to make them feel special.
    • Sometimes Christmas is a time for people to confess to one another. Inviting someone out on Christmas has strong romantic implications.
    • On that note, avoid talking about Christmas with single women. They often feel a bit sour around that time of year, just as singles in the West might feel on Valentine's Day.
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    Decorate. Japanese families often have a Christmas tree, and hanging lights outside of houses is also becoming popular.
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    Eat KFC. It might sound bizarre to foreign ears, but KFC is a big part of Christmas in Japan - so much so that you'd need to make reservations months in advance to get in! The explanation for this is simple enough, though. KFC company leaders found that Westerners wanted turkey on Christmas, but struggled to find any. Hence, they advertised KFC as an alternative, even offering champagne to go along with meals, and were immensely successful.
    • Popular Japanese favorite foods at KFC for Christmas are shortcake and fried chicken.
    • KFC lets you reserve fried chicken as early as the end of October!
    • Buy a strawberry shortcake, plum cake, and buttercream cakes as well. Popular bakeries and hotels start taking reservations in October!
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    Check out the light displays. If you're in Japan for the holiday season, you'll find most cities decked out with elaborate light displays. Stores and restaurants go all out decorating. A walk around will probably increase your Christmas spirit tenfold!
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    Look forward to New Years! New Years in Japan is more similar to Western Christmas. Families spend time together, and the dinner is a big deal. If you're a Westerner longing for the Christmas you're used to, the New Year might help.

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Categories: Christmas