Japan might not be the first place you think of when you begin planning for your Christmas holiday. But surprisingly, the Asian nation goes all out over the festive period. Christmas is a Christian holiday, and in Japan there are few Christians to be found. Christmas in Japan is therefore very much a secular affair.
Heads up! If this year is your first Christmas in Japan, you might be a little surprised or even confused at some of the traditions you witness. Even though only about 1 percent of the Japanese population are Christian, Christmas is still a pretty big deal over here as you may have noticed with the plethora of Christmas markets and stunning illuminations dotting every corner of Tokyo. At that time, Christmas dinner in Japan was sort of ill-defined, and turkey was and still is extremely hard to come by. To Okawara, the party barrel filled a nice void.
Buddhism and Shintoism is the major religion in Japan. Christmas was initially introduced to Japan with the arrival of the first Europeans in the 16th century. But the festival gained popularity only in recent decades due to increasing migration of people from all over the world to Japan. Preparations for Christmas begin here several weeks before December
Like a number of Western holidays in Japan, Christmas seems to be getting bigger every year. Christmas in Japan is an interesting mix of traditions from abroad with some unique Japanese Christmas interpretations thrown in. When Japanese people say Christmas, they are almost exclusively referring to Christmas Eve. While Christmas Eve is the focus of Christmas festivities in many countries around the world, in Japan, things go a step further as Christmas Day is not a holiday, making December 25th a virtual non-event more on that in a moment. Christmas Eve in Japan is essentially an evening for couples and friends to get together, have a meal, perhaps take in some Christmas lights, and exchange gifts.