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What is the most famous Christmas meal in Japan?


Japan is known for its unique culture and traditions, and Christmas is no exception. While Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan, it’s still celebrated by many citizens. One of the most significant parts of Christmas in Japan is the food. In this article, we will explore the most famous Christmas meal in Japan, its history, and significance.

History of Christmas in Japan

Christmas was introduced to Japan in the late 19th century by Christian missionaries. However, it wasn’t until after World War II that the holiday became widely popular in Japan. Today, Christmas in Japan has become more of a commercial holiday, with many people enjoying the festive atmosphere and exchanging gifts.

Japanese Snack Box

KFC’s Fried Chicken

Believe it or not, KFC’s fried chicken is the most famous Christmas meal in Japan. The tradition started in 1974 when KFC launched a marketing campaign called “Kentucky for Christmas.” The campaign was so successful that KFC became synonymous with Christmas in Japan. Today, many people pre-order their KFC Christmas meals weeks in advance.

Traditional Japanese Foods Served During Christmas

Although KFC’s fried chicken is the most famous Christmas meal in Japan, many traditional Japanese foods are also served during the holiday season. These include sushi, sashimi, tempura, and hot pot dishes like nabe.

Christmas Cakes

Another popular food during Christmas in Japan is cake. Specifically, a type of sponge cake called “kurisumasu keki,” which translates to “Christmas cake.” These cakes are often decorated with strawberries and whipped cream and can be found at bakeries and supermarkets throughout Japan.

Importance of Food During the Holidays

In Japan, food plays an essential role during the holiday season. It’s a time for families to come together and enjoy a special meal. Many people also see it as an opportunity to splurge on expensive food items that they wouldn’t normally eat.

Food Culture in Japan

Japanese cuisine is renowned around the world for its quality and attention to detail. Food is not just about nourishment but is seen as an art form. The Japanese have a deep appreciation for fresh ingredients and take great care in preparing their food.

Food as a Reflection of Japanese Society

The way that food is prepared and consumed in Japan reflects many aspects of Japanese society. For example, the emphasis on presentation and aesthetics reflects the importance of beauty in Japanese culture.

Cultural Differences in Celebrating Christmas

While many countries celebrate Christmas with similar traditions, there are also many cultural differences. In Japan, for example, Christmas Eve is considered a romantic holiday for couples to spend together.

Marketing Campaigns During the Holidays

KFC’s “Kentucky for Christmas” campaign is just one example of how companies use marketing to influence consumer behavior during the holiday season. Many businesses offer special promotions and discounts to encourage people to buy their products.


In conclusion, while KFC’s fried chicken may seem like an unexpected choice for a Christmas meal, it has become an integral part of Japanese holiday tradition. However, it’s important to remember that there are also many other traditional Japanese foods that are enjoyed during the holiday season. Food plays a crucial role in Japanese culture and society and is something that should be appreciated and celebrated during the holidays.

Why is KFC eaten at Christmas in Japan?

In the 1970s, a campaign was launched by Takeshi Okawara, the manager of the original KFC restaurant in Japan, to entice tourists and expats who couldn’t find turkey to eat on Christmas Day with chicken. This campaign has continued and become a tradition in Japan.

Which country eats KFC for Christmas?

In Japan, Christmas is celebrated by many families who flock to their nearest KFC to order large amounts of fried chicken. It has become a tradition for children to compete for the best piece of chicken, making it a merry Kentucky Christmas in Japan.

What restaurant popularized a Christmas menu in Japan?

For more than four decades, the Japanese have enjoyed KFC fried chicken as part of their Christmas Eve dining tradition. Through a successful marketing campaign, the fast-food chain was able to establish this as a legitimate holiday tradition.

What is the most eaten meat on Christmas?

Although turkey is typically regarded as the traditional choice for Christmas Day lunch, there are numerous other meat options available. For those seeking a luxurious meal, a marbled beef side is a great choice, while ham and gammon can be served both hot and cold, providing versatility for those hosting multiple holiday meals.

What is the least popular Christmas food?

According to a recent report, the least favorite Christmas foods among consumers are persimmon pudding and fruitcake. This information was published on November 2, 2022.

What is Santa called in Hawaii?

Santa Claus is known as Kanakaloka in Hawaiian culture and even he doesn’t wear his traditional red and white suit but instead opts for flowery Hawaiian attire. Decorations such as Christmas wreaths are made from the local poinsettia plant.

Aside from the food, Christmas in Japan also features a unique blend of Western and Japanese traditions. For example, many people decorate their homes with Christmas lights and trees, but they also display traditional Japanese decorations like origami cranes and bamboo decorations. Additionally, some cities in Japan hold Christmas markets, where vendors sell handmade crafts, food, and drinks.

Another aspect of Christmas in Japan is the popular practice of “illuminations.” Many cities and towns throughout Japan decorate their streets and buildings with stunning light displays during the holiday season. One of the most famous illuminations is the “Tokyo Midtown Christmas Illumination,” which features over 180,000 LED lights.

While Christmas may not be a national holiday in Japan, it’s still a time for people to come together and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Many families exchange gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, similar to the traditions in Western countries. However, some people choose to celebrate the holiday in their own unique ways, such as attending concerts or spending time with friends.

Overall, Christmas in Japan is a fascinating blend of traditional Japanese culture and Western influences. The food, decorations, and festivities all reflect the importance of coming together and celebrating during the holiday season. Whether you’re enjoying KFC’s fried chicken or a traditional Japanese hot pot dish, Christmas is a time to appreciate good company and delicious food.

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