It is again that time of the year — of dreamy festive lights and melodic Christmas cheers. While Japan does not really observe Christmas in quite the same way as the Western world, there is still a celebratory, festive air that can be felt throughout the major cities.
While Christmas is not a public holiday or religious celebration in Japan, you will find many elements traditionally associated with this festive affair. Winter illuminations, Christmas decorations, and Christmas markets all contribute to the holiday spirit.
If you are visiting Japan during the year-end period, here are some popular Christmas markets that will definitely immerse you in a sparkly festive atmosphere!
1. Christmas Advent, Fukuoka Prefecture
As it enters its 11th year, the Christmas celebrations in Fukuoka City get bigger and better. This year, the wintertime extravaganza is collectively called the "Christmas Advent". Spanning four weeks, it features Christmas markets, winter illuminations and live performances by local artists, transforming Fukuoka into a dazzling city of lights and festive cheer.
More than three Christmas markets will be held at different venues across the city.
For authentic European festive vibes, the beautifully illuminated JR Hakata Station Square hosts vendors offering traditional mulled wine, festive eats and the cutest Christmas gifts. The Tenjin Christmas Market at Fureai Plaza is decked like a winter fairy tale, captivating visitors with glittery Christmas decorations and eight trees.
A fresh addition to the Christmas market lineup is Fukuoka Daimyo Garden City, Fukuoka’s newest landmark that unveiled its charm in early 2023. The outdoor grass lawn transforms into a lively Christmas market selling festive fare and trinkets, all under the captivating glow of champagne gold fairy lights.
While in Fukuoka, do not miss the various winter illuminations that light up the city’s nightscape. Stroll through the streets of Nakasu and bask in the alluring blue and gold LED lights of the Nakasu Hikarino Advent illumination.
Dates: 6 November to 25 December 2023, various times across venues.
2. Roppongi Hills Christmas Market, Tokyo
Inspired by the famous Christmas market in Stuttgart, Germany, the 17th Roppongi Hills Christmas Market is an event to look forward to. From gorgeous Christmas decorations to traditional German festive foods, this market promises all the frills without any of the winter chill.
Located in the heart of Tokyo's bustling Roppongi district, the festive atmosphere can be felt from neighbouring Keyakizaka Street, where gorgeous white and blue illuminated trees line the sidewalks. As you make your way to Ooyane Plaza, the excitement intensifies as crowds gather at the popular German-style Christmas market to immerse themselves in the holiday atmosphere.
This year, there are a total of 10 stores selling an array of original German products. Savour authentic German flavours featuring traditional handmade hams, sausages, goulash, pretzels and other delectable German dishes.
You can also shop to your heart’s delight with a selection of delightful Christmas goods that range from ornate Christmas trinkets and stunning snow globes with winter scenes to spice decorative crafts that will fill your space with wonderful scents.
Dates: 25 November to 25 December 2023, 11AM to 9PM.