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Is Christmas a big thing in Japan?


Christmas is a widely celebrated holiday in many countries around the world. However, the level of importance and the way it is celebrated varies from country to country. In this article, we will explore whether Christmas is a big thing in Japan and how it is celebrated there.

History of Christmas in Japan

The history of Christmas in Japan dates back to the 16th century when Jesuit missionaries arrived in the country. Initially, Christianity was not widely accepted, and Christmas was not celebrated. However, after World War II, the holiday gained popularity due to Western influence.

Japanese Snack Box

The Commercialization of Christmas in Japan

In Japan, Christmas is more of a commercial holiday than a religious one. It is often seen as a time for couples to celebrate their love, rather than a time for family gatherings. Many businesses capitalize on the holiday season by offering Christmas-themed products and decorations.

Celebrating Christmas in Japan

Despite its commercialization, many Japanese people still celebrate Christmas. This often includes exchanging gifts, decorating trees, and enjoying holiday-themed food and drinks. However, the way in which it is celebrated may differ from Western traditions.

Christmas Eve in Japan

Christmas Eve is considered more important than Christmas Day in Japan. It is seen as a romantic holiday for couples to spend time together and exchange gifts. Many restaurants offer special Christmas Eve dinner menus, and it is common for people to book reservations months in advance.

Christmas Decorations in Japan

Christmas decorations are widely available in Japan. Many stores and streets are decorated with lights and ornaments starting from November. In addition, many homes also have Christmas trees and other decorations.

Christmas Food in Japan

Unlike Western countries where traditional food such as turkey and ham are served during Christmas dinner, Japanese people often enjoy fried chicken or sushi on Christmas day. It is also common to eat cake on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Music in Japan

Christmas music is played throughout the holiday season in Japan. However, unlike Western countries where classic songs such as “Jingle Bells” are popular, Japanese Christmas songs are often original compositions.

Christmas Events in Japan

Various events are held throughout Japan during the holiday season. For example, many theme parks offer special Christmas illuminations, while some cities hold Christmas markets and concerts.

Religious Celebrations of Christmas in Japan

Although Christianity is not widely practiced in Japan, some churches hold special services on Christmas Eve or Day. These services may be conducted in both Japanese and English.

The Future of Christmas in Japan

The commercialization of Christmas has led some people to criticize its meaning being lost in translation. However, many Japanese people continue to enjoy the holiday season, even if it is more for fun than for religious purposes.


In conclusion, while the level of importance placed on Christmas may be different from that of Western countries, it is clear that the holiday has become a big thing in Japan. Whether it’s through romantic dinners or festive illuminations, Japanese people continue to find joy during the holiday season.

Is Christmas a big deal in Japan?

Due to Christmas not being recognized as a national holiday, Japan experiences less of a hustle and bustle during this time, making it an ideal period to visit and witness its spectacular lights and markets throughout the country. Even though Christmas is not observed as a religious occasion in Japan, it still holds significance as a time of reunion for families.

Why is Christmas so big in Japan?

Christmas has only become a popular holiday in Japan in recent decades and is not viewed as a religious celebration due to the lack of Christians in the country. However, customs such as exchanging Christmas cards and gifts, which were adopted from the United States, have become popular in Japan.

Is Santa big in Japan?

Fortunately, the idea of Santa Claus remains a beloved Christmas tradition for children in Japan. Just like kids around the world, Japanese children eagerly anticipate Santa’s visit on Christmas Eve and the gifts that await them on Christmas morning.

How is Christmas seen in Japan?

Japan has a limited number of Christians, which is why Christmas is not considered a religious holiday in the country. Instead, they celebrate the new year similar to how Westerners celebrate Christmas by sharing a meal and exchanging gifts with family and friends.

What do they call Santa in Japan?

In Japan, the nickname for Santa Claus is ‘Santa-San’, which means Mr. Santa. Christmas is celebrated in Japan as a time of spreading joy and happiness rather than as a religious holiday.

Why is Christmas not as widely celebrated in Japan?

The reason for the differences in how Christmas is celebrated in Japan is due to the fact that the majority of the population is not Christian. Therefore, the holiday has evolved to be less religious in nature. Despite the differences from what one may be accustomed to, Christmas in Japan is still a lively and enjoyable celebration.

In recent years, a new trend has emerged in Japan during the Christmas season: Christmas-themed cakes. These cakes are beautifully decorated with Santa Claus, reindeer, snowmen, and other festive designs. Many people buy these cakes as gifts for friends and family or to enjoy at home with loved ones.

Another popular activity during the Christmas season in Japan is watching Christmas-themed movies. Japanese television stations often air classic Christmas movies such as Home Alone, A Christmas Carol, and It’s a Wonderful Life. Movie theaters also screen new releases with a holiday theme.

Despite not being a national holiday in Japan, many businesses and schools close on Christmas Day. This allows families to spend time together and enjoy the holiday festivities. Some people even take advantage of the long weekend to travel and explore other parts of the country.

In conclusion, although Christmas in Japan may not have the same religious significance as it does in Western countries, it has become an important part of Japanese culture. From romantic dinners to festive illuminations, there are many ways for people to celebrate the holiday season. Whether it’s through gift-giving, enjoying special food and drinks, or spending time with loved ones, Christmas in Japan is a time for joy and celebration.

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