1. Hana Akari
    Photo: Yomiuri Land
  2. VenusFort Thankful Carnival
    Photo: VenusFortVenusFort Thankful Carnival

20 magical Christmas events in Tokyo

Make the most of the Christmas season with these festive markets, light displays, sales and events around Tokyo

Tabea Greuner
Written by
Tabea Greuner
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Tokyoites love Christmastime, so it’s no surprise that the capital is full of special seasonal events during December. Look out for beautiful illuminations at shopping malls and parks, a number of Christmas markets and large public Christmas trees, ice skating rinks, beautiful Christmas cakes and more.

You’ll need some serious scheduling skills in order to check out all of the city’s events, so we’ve made a list with our best picks below. Grab a cup of hot chocolate, get comfy and read on.

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Things to do

  • Things to do
  • Odaiba

Before Odaiba shopping mall VenusFort permanently closes in spring 2022, the venue will host a number of campaigns in the lead-up to its last business day on March 27. 

Don’t miss its last illumination event, Thankful Carnival, with a number of installations set up throughout the facility. You’ll find a 7m-tall illuminated reindeer at Palette Plaza, another large elk-shaped installation at South Avenue, a Christmas bauble-shaped installation at Olive Plaza and other stunning spots with larger-than-life displays that are perfect for taking plenty of photos.

The highlight, however, is a short show taking place at Fountain Plaza on the second floor. The space is decorated with illuminations and red and gold drapes resembling a circus ring. The three-minute carnival show takes place every 30 minutes. 

  • Things to do
  • Shibuya

Shibuya Stream’s first winter illumination event features a sound-and-light show called Piece of Prism. You’ll find a number of colourful prism-shaped objects set up on the mall’s large staircase. When looking at the staircase from the front, the different pieces appear to be one large monument. The show runs every 30 minutes from 4.30pm daily.

You’ll also find plenty of prism-shaped objects hanging from the ceilings of the shopping centre’s second and third floors. If you head to the Shibuya Stream website on your phone, you can tap to select different words on the screen, which will cause the hanging prisms to change colour and make special sound effects.

On the 400m-long stretch between Shibuya Stream’s Inari and Namiki bridges, you’ll find more beautiful illuminations featuring over 25,000 LED lights, while the Inari Bridge Square on the first floor is home to a large Christmas tree decorated with LED lights and ornaments.

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  • Things to do
  • Kanagawa

Located next to Tokyo amusement park Yomiuri Land, Hana Biyori garden is lighting up with a spectacular illumination display until April 3 2022. Follow the path lined with 500 takeakari bamboo lanterns and you’ll come to a historical gate that was transplanted from the Kyoto Imperial Palace.

The approach features a spellbinding light installation using takemari, round ball-like objects made from bamboo. Encased within each of these hanging lanterns is a flower bouquet that resembles the famous ‘flower chandeliers’ of the on-site greenhouse. Continue on and you’ll find colourful illuminated Japanese umbrellas along the path, along with an additional 500 small bamboo lanterns.

While you’re there, make sure to check out the spectacular Jewellumination at Yomiuri Land, too.

Family-friendly events

  • Things to do
  • Futako-Tamagawa

For a more traditional Christmas-themed illumination, head to Futako-Tamagawa’s Rise shopping mall, conveniently connected to the station. This year, the Christmas tree on display is based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, decorated with Christmas baubles and ornaments that look like apples, oranges and pears from the storybook. If you look closely, you’ll spot the caterpillar himself hiding among the fruit. Make sure to take a closer look at the trees placed within the entire shopping mall which are decorated with shimmering lights and giant fruit, too.

The Christmas tree is on display until December 25, however, the illuminations around the shopping mall run until March 8 2022, including a large staircase with special patterned lighting effects. There’s also an ice skating rink decked out in animal illustrations by Carle, which will open from December 11 2021 to March 6 2022.

Shopping

  • Things to do
  • Shibuya

For a Shibuya-style Christmas market, head to the Winter Cast illumination on Harajuku's famous Cat Street. Don’t miss the Garage Sale on December 18 and 19 (12noon-6pm), where shops from the nearby Cat Street sell selected items at Shibuya Cast Garden. There’s also a Christmas concert by singer-songwriter Laura Yokozawa on December 19 from 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

Between December 22 and 24, kids can join a shadow puppet workshop, while parents can browse a selection of secondhand kids’ clothes at the on-site ‘share market’.

On December 25 and 26 (1pm-7pm), on the other hand, you can drop by the Shibuya Designer’s Market. Here, you can shop for items produced by illustrator Mameko Maeda, graphic designer Yutaro Mineyama, illustrator and graphic designer Taro Hashimoto and others.

More Christmas events in Tokyo

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