Japan is not a country of Christians, so it makes sense that Christmas here is really about the Santa/Christmas tree/sparkling lights side of the holiday. According to some expats we talked to, Christmas Day is really no different than any other day here. Good thing, because we'll be in Vietnam!
Here's a little taste of the holiday cheer you can find on Tokyo streets in December.
Haneda Airport knows it's the Christmas season!
Roppongi Hills' version will inevitably be a little creepy. That spider never goes away.
Ebisu Garden Place didn't disappoint. Christmas tree, lights galore, and a giant crystal chandelier... A little random but still quite beautiful.
The Roppongi streets light the path towards Tokyo Tower.
Tokyo Christmas Market in Hibiya Park stands next to the Imperial Palace. Their annual festivities include an interesting Japanese take on German food as well as a 14 meter Christmas Pyramid from Dresden. It makes the Guinness Book of World Records for the tallest on the planet.
Supposedly, when foreigners back in the 1970's unsuccessfully looked for Christmas turkey and resorted to having chicken instead, Kentucky Fried Chicken jumped at the opportunity to promote their brand and started advertising fried chicken as a Christmas meal. It has become a tradition for Japanese to go to Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas Day ever since. Nowadays these meals even include cake and champagne!
Bumped into Santa on his well-lit Christmas train while strolling through town.
Shinjuku ensures that every walkway is full of holiday spirit.
One of the must see Christmas light shows in the city - Shiodome Mall's Canyon d'Azur Caretta Illumination. The shows run through a variety of colors and light patterns, accompanied by music.
Another big display is Midtown Tokyo's "Midtown Cruise". This show is sci-fi themed (how un-Christmas-like) but very pretty, and really does remind you of space. Take a look.
And then there's Shibuya. Its' Santas are climbing all over the trees like little critters set loose. :-P
We had a little Christmas celebration a few days early, knowing that we would be traveling the day of.
The holiday season in Japan is very festive and quite beautiful, but definitely can't beat home's. Merry Christmas, everyone! We miss you and are grateful for all of our Christmases with you, past and future. :)