Christmas in Japan

Japan has a history of Christianity from as far back as 1540 AD. Whilst Shinto and Buddhism are Japan’s major religions, Japan remains a highly secular nation….and despite not being an official national holiday, Christmas in Japan is widely popular and enthusiastically celebrated as a notable festival to be enjoyed.

It’s a time for Santa Claus, cake, sweets & romance. Christmas trees, colourful decorations and extensive displays of bright Christmas lights blanket most public spaces in cities throughout Japan. Parties, picnics and gift exchanges are immensely popular.

How is Christmas celebrated in Japan?

A variety of Christmas sweets and Japanese Christmas cake, usually a white sponge cake covered with cream and decorated with strawberries is avidly consumed.

A typical Japanese Christmas cake

Rather than being a religious occasion, Christmas in Japan is a social time to spend with friends and significant others. Christmas Eve is celebrated as a couple’s holiday on which romantic gifts are exchanged. There is no Japanese word for “Merry Christmas.” People just say it as an English word with Japanese pronunciation: “Merii Kurisumasu (Click to listen to the pronunciation).” Since it is an English expression, it is written in katakana  : メリークリスマス

Christmas in Japan is an incredible visual, social & culinary feast not to be missed.


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