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Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 in Asian | 0 comments

Christmas Traditions in Japan: Celebrate with Christmas cake

Christmas Traditions in Japan: Celebrate with Christmas cake

Japanese celebrate Christmas with a special cake, often topped with white whipped cream and dressed with strawberries. There is no special feast for the day; rather people celebrate the day by doing social work and charity.

Christmas is celebrated all around the world. Each country has different customs and traditions. Learn about the Christmas traditions in Japan. Different countries celebrate in their own way including different dates, food, drinks which lead to a variety of diverse Christmas traditions around the World! This article features popular Japanese Christmas traditions detailing the celebrations, gift giving, Santa Claus and other customs followed in Japan.

Christmas Traditions in Japan

Christmas Traditions in Japan

Christmas in Japan is hyped by large corporations who have created a Hallmark Holiday of sorts. It is more a commercial holiday than a traditional one, but is popular nonetheless and the Christmas atmosphere in the cities is enchanting. Some Japanese families have established their own Christmas traditions and this once predominantly commercial holiday has transformed into a significant one for many. For the majority, it’s another reason to celebrate. Japan fun facts about Christmas are plenty. There is a relatively small percentage of Christians in Japan, but there are a slew of holiday customs. From what Christmas carols are sung in Japan, to food, and other practices, foreigners might be surprised at what they’ll find in Japan over the Christmas season.


One of the most important times of the year for buying jewelry and other gifts, Christmas is the major business opportunity for business in Japan. Businesses also send out Oseibo (the end of the year gift) to other businesses, usually to return an earlier favor or to strengthen existing business ties. The gift may be very expensive, or something more easy, like beer, fruit, hams, coffee and so on.


Food is as important for Japanese Christmas and New Year as everywhere else. Most young people book fancy restaurants for Christmas Eve. At home, there are family dinner gatherings, with menus that include roast chicken or fried chicken and a Christmas cake. Very recently, pizza has also become a popular Christmas Eve dinner choice. Cakes, and other westernized eatables have a special booming business, especially because Christmas cakes are not usually made at home in Japan.


As a public festival it is celebrated with more fervor, lights and color in bars, restaurants, hotels and other public celebration places. Tinsel and lights are put up in halls and dancing coffee bars. Small toys, dolls (lovely little toys that the Japanese are so good at making), miniature candles, paper ornaments, gold paper fans and lanterns, wind chimes, the list of decorations runs endless with people as creative and artistic as the Japanese. The cities turn out looking like little pieces of lighted up, glittering heaven.

A very special decoration during Christmas is the origami swan, the little bird made of folded paper that little children so love to make. The swan, called the ‘bird of peace’, has the heart-warming distinction of the toy exchanged by young people all over the world, as a pledge that war must not happen again. All the people across the world should live in peace and harmony, if not for anything else, for the future generations to inherit a happier earth.

Christmas Shopping in Japan

Christmas Shopping in Japan

Good Deeds

Christmas and the end of December are also taken as the time of the year for charity for a large number of people in Japan. For instance, many people do charity; take gifts and other things for children in hospitals. These kinds of places are decorated with Christmas trees and gifts to lift the spirits of the sick children, or adults, as the case may be. Children sing carols to the sick people, some put on plays and other performances based on the life of Jesus. Goodwill and Christmas cheer abound even as everyone strives to give happiness to everyone else.

Facts and Information about Japan

Learn a little about the country of Japan, as well as its Christmas traditions! The following information provides some fast, interesting facts about Japan:

Location: Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula
Japanese Land Size : 374,744 sq km
Japanese Climate / Weather : varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north
Japanese Capital City: Tokyo
Japanese Currency : yen (JPY)

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