Updated: December 18, 2018
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How to say 'Merry Christmas' in Japanese

Here's what you want to know about Christmas traditions in Japan- When and how it is celebrated!

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How Christmas is celebrated differently in Japan

Family_celebrating_Christmas
When you think of Christmas celebrations, you probably imagine a festive family gathering with many gifts under the Christmas tree and the smell of gingerbread cookies lingering in the air.

But in reality, although Christmas is highlighted in Japan more and more over the years, that is definitely not how you will see the scene being played out.

Japanese Christmas 'Traditions'

Christmas_Illuminations
It can hardly be called a 'tradition', however, over the past few years, Christmas has slowly, but surely built itself a secure place in Japan.
You will often see Christmas decorations up in the centre of the city, as well as restaurants offering Christmas menu items.

However, what you will not see are Japanese families sitting around the Christmas tree and having family over for dinner for the Christmas holidays. In fact, Japanese people don't even get Christmas holidays.

That's simply because that is not how it is celebrated here. As much as Christmas is considered a day to spend time with family and that New Year's is a time to be out with friends; the opposite is true in Japan. Well, that is that New Year's and a day to spend time with family and share memories of the past year, and Christmas is considered to be a romantic holiday here. Christmas in Japan is mostly celebrating amongst couples.

You will see many young couples walking around downtown, holding hands and admiring the Christmas decorations. They will most probably stop next to a fancy restaurant to enjoy a beautiful and intimate dinner. As most restaurants are fully booked this time of the year, it is important to book many weeks, even months in advance. Especially since December is known as the 'bonenkai' season, a time where coworkers go out drinking together to celebrate the end of the year.

Japanese Christmas Food

Couple_with_Christmas_cake
What is typical Japanese Christmas food you might wonder?

KFC. Yep, you read that right.
As a matter of fact, it's so popular that you will need to reserve many weeks/months in advance to get your KFC chicken fix for Christmas.

Christmas cake, such as the one pictured above, is very popular. Click on the link below for more information about Japanese Christmas food.

Meri Kuri!

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"Meri Kuri" is short for Merry Christmas and is how Japanese say it.
Will you try celebrating Christmas Japanese style this year?

Cheers and Meri Kuri!
Lili Wanderlust
I love travelling and discovering new cuisines. Japan has a panoply of local dishes to try. I also love yoga, coffee, reading, and cycling.

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