1. Roppingi Hills Christmas Market 2018
    Photo: Roppongi Hills Christmas Market
  2. Yomiuri Land Jewellumination
    Photo: ©Yomiuri Land
  3. Steiff x Butterfly Dance Gallery Afternoon Tea
    Photo: Prince Hotels Co., Ltd.
  4. Midtown Christmas
    Photo: Tokyo Midtown

9 amazing ways to celebrate Christmas in Tokyo

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

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Written by
Kaila Imada
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Christmas this year will look different for many of us, as the Covid-19 pandemic has made 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 best things to do in Tokyo this December

Season's greetings

  • Shopping

What’s Christmas without a few holiday markets to explore? Come winter, Tokyo plays host to a slew of 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 Totoro cream puffs.

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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, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and voilà – your holiday feast, sorted.

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.

Two Rooms in Aoyama is serving up a festive brunch, lunch and dinner, which has set courses from just ¥1,950 (reservations can be made here). Restaurants at the Andaz Tokyo hotel are also offering decadent Christmas menus including the casual festive dinner plan (¥6,000) at Bebu featuring free-flow beverages, and another festive dinner (from ¥22,000) at The Tavern – Grill & Lounge. For reservations at the Andaz Tokyo, visit here.

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Go shopping for Christmas and New Year’s gifts
Photo: Mizina/Pixta

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. For something more boutique,  look for an eco-friendly gift from a Japanese sustainable brand or stop in at one of Tokyo’s many specialist stores to find bespoke gifts and traditional crafts.

  • 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.

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Watch a festive Christmas show
Photo: New National Theatre

Watch a festive Christmas show

What better way to get yourself into the holiday spirit than catching a Christmas show or two? Tokyo's New National Theatre is hosting a festive classic with its rendition of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, which is also available to stream online if you're staying in. For a dose of holiday music, book a seat at the Snoopy Premium Symphonic Christmas Concert or the Suntory Hall Christmas Concert – there's a performance on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

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