1. Midtown Christmas 2021
    Photo: Kisa ToyoshimaMidtown Christmas 2021
  2. Roppingi Hills Christmas Market 2018
    Photo: Roppongi Hills Christmas Market
  3. Tokyo Marriott Sparkle Christmas Dinner
    Photo: Marriott

10 amazing ways to celebrate Christmas in Tokyo

Spending the holidays in the city? Get into the Christmas spirit with some retail therapy, elaborate cakes and more

Kaila Imada
Written by
Kaila Imada
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Christmas this year will look different for many of us, as the Covid-19 pandemic is still making it difficult to travel home for the holidays. But that doesn’t mean Christmas is cancelled. In fact, Tokyo does a brilliant job of decorating the city and offering festive activities to get you into the holiday spirit.

Moreover, Christmas day isn’t a public holiday in Japan, meaning stores and restaurants are still open for business – it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate with a festive lunch, dinner or even a last-minute shopping spree. 

If you’ve already tried celebrating Christmas the Japanese way – feasting on KFC chicken and strawberry shortcakes – we’ve got a few more things you can add to your list. 

RECOMMENDED: The most beautiful winter destinations in Japan

Season's greetings

  • Shopping

What’s Christmas without a few holiday markets to explore? Come winter, Tokyo plays host to several Christmas markets, many of which are German-themed, meaning you can get your fill of glühwein, gingerbread and all sorts of seasonal snacks. For all you last minute Christmas shoppers, there are also plenty of trinkets and gifts on sale, too.

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  • Shopping
  • Pâtisseries

Having a strawberry shortcake during the holiday season may be a Japanese tradition, but so is buying one of the other extravagant cakes available at this time of year. Tokyo’s bakeries and hotels have been baking up a storm with complex creations including traditional yule logs and cakes topped with custard pudding.

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Most restaurants are still open on Christmas Day, so you’ll have the opportunity to dine out without the hassle of cooking and cleaning up a massive Christmas feast. Plus, many restaurants offer Christmas courses, so you know you’ll be getting the proper holiday treatment.

Go shopping for Christmas and New Year’s gifts
Photo: Akomeya

Go shopping for Christmas and New Year’s gifts

Looking for a few Christmas gifts? Or maybe you’d rather pick out a gift for yourself? Tokyo is a shopping paradise, and the holiday season is no exception. Visiting Tokyo’s department stores is a treat on its own just for the wonderful Christmas window displays. Start your shopping at one of Tokyo's many flagship stores, one-stop shops or go hunting for discounts at these outlet malls near Tokyo. Japanese skincare products make for great stocking stuffers, as well as all of Tokyo's tasty souvenir sweets.

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  • Things to do
  • Ice skating

To work off all those Christmas cookies and cakes, you can spend your holiday skating throughout the capital. Both Tokyo and Yokohama are home to a number of indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks that are perfect for the whole family – even the kids. Plus, some of these rinks light up after dark, making for a magical spin on the ice.

  • Things to do

There's no doubt that Tokyo is home to some of the best illuminations during winter, and more than a few lean into the festive season with colourful Christmas trees as well. If you're looking for the most majestic displays, we've done the work for you with this list of the best Christmas trees in and around Tokyo this year, ranging from traditional installations to interactive pieces.

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You’ll be glad to know that KFC is not the only place to get poultry for your Christmas dinner. Thankfully, Tokyo has a number of options for ordering a juicy roast chicken or turkey for your Christmas spread. All you need to do is whip up a few other staples like stuffing and mashed potatoes and voilà – your holiday feast, sorted.

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