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Christmas Events and Seeing Santa

Japan With Kids - Forums: General Discussions: Holiday celebration: Christmas Events and Seeing Santa
By Admin on Saturday, December 17, 2011 - 4:20 pm:

Tokyo Daito Bunka University Wind Orchestra
The 40th Regular Concert
2011 Dec. 22
Doors open at 18:00. Start 18:30.
students: 300yen, adults: 500yen
Itabashi Culture Hall
(Same venue as the Sophia concert yesterday.)
Two intermissions. (These concerts tend to be a bit longer than usual.
第T部 Stage Marching Show
The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde 〜情愛と哀傷のはざまで〜
ジキルとハイド 他
第U部 Pops Stage
〜Music History of 40years〜
AKB48コレクション 他
第V部 Symphonic Stage

By Aart on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 9:11 pm:

Well, there's not a whole lot going on here for Christmas. Japan is not really into it, except it is sort of thought of as a romantic night. One tradition is to buy or order delivery from Kentucky Fried Chicken and also get a sort of strawberry short cake with whipped cream confection for Christmas dinner (!!)

So why not have Christmas dinner at Tadg's (McLoughlin's) Irish Bar & Restaurant
8F Empire Building, on Kiyamachi, north of Sanjo
Tel: 075-212-6339
Reservations suggested! Dec. 23 and 24 only.
Great looking menu for Y3500:

By Kurz on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 8:18 pm:

The "Christmas Market" from Germany is one of the largest winter events in Osaka. You can feel the taste of Christmas as celebrated in many parts Switzerland and Austria as well as Germany! Precious goods including ornaments are available in addition to mulled wine and broiled sausages.

Floating Garden Observatory (Umeda Sky Building)
〒531-0076 Osaka
Kita-ku, Oyodo-naka 1-1-88
from Nov 18 - Dec 25, 2011

If you have a hunger for Dutch "stroopwafel" they can be found at: (scroll down for English. Click on left hand side British flag). They are located in Kobe, but you can order off the web site. They make a macha flavored waffle cookie just for Japan!

The Kobe Luminarie was from December 1-12, 2011 this year. It is an Italian designed tunnel consisting of millions of lights. Put it on your calendar for next year!

By Kurz on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 8:06 pm:


Annual Christmas Decorations in five old residential houses up on The Bluff in Yamate-cho in Yokohama. (Near the Foreign residents' cemetary, a 10 minute walk from Motomachi Station.)

These houses are a kind of heritage museum, managed by Yokohama City. They are open all year round to the public from 9:30 to 17:00. The Christmas decorations are on till December 25th.

Bluff No. 111 Tel: 045 623 2957
Bluff No. 234 Tel: 045 625 9393
Ehrismann House Tel: 045 211 1101
Bluff No. 18 Tel: 045 662 6318
The Home of a Diplomat Tel: 045 662 8819

Here is the Japanese link:

The Yokohama Bluff is a very special area and on the way home you can view the Christmas lights in Motomachi and walk over to China Town. All in walking distance or a short taxi ride.

Nearby additional events:
Yamate Western House Fantasy of Light
After sunset, illumination with LED will decorate the park.
Dates: December 1 (Thu.) to December 25 (Sun.), 2011, sunset to 22:00
Venue: Minato-no Harbor View Park (Minato-no-Mieru Oka Koen), Motomachi Park, and Yamate Park

Candle Garden
Dates: December 23 (Fri./Holiday) and December 24 (Sat.), sunset to 21:00
Venue: Yamate Italian Garden

By Pato on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 7:40 pm:

Yokohama, Sakuragicho/MinatoMirai Landmark Plaza Shopping Center (7 floors of stores)
Santa Claus is coming.
I can't really read this properly, but it looks like there will be photos with Santa from December 19 to 21 at Landmark Plaza Level 1 Garden Square. I hear it is taxing on parents, so pack a some drinks in your bag!
There are also lights and decorated trees, and concerts almost every day at various times. Please double check my interpretation. I'm reading number 7 on page two of:

By Pato on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 12:05 pm:

Tokyo: Sophia Brass Band Winter Concert (60 musicians)
Free. Friday, December 16, 2011
Walking distance 3 minutes from Tobu Tojo line Ooyama station (either exit) or 7 minutes from Mita line Iitabashikuyakushomae station (exit A2).
Doors open at 17:45 and concert starts at 18:15
Big Hall at Iitabashi Kuritzu Bunka Kaikan
(not far from the main Iitabashi ward office).
on Yuuza Ooyama Shoutengai across from 7-Eleven

"New Year's Eve" (O-misoka by Itaru Sakai)
"Pictures at an Exhibition" (arrangement of Mussorgsky's piano piece)
"The Last Letter from Murdoch" (by Masanori Taruya)
and ending up with some rousing pop songs, etc.

These guys are pretty good and seem to be having fun.

By Sandy on Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 11:06 am:

Tokyo: British Embassy Choir
Saturday, 10 December 2011, 3:00pm
Caroling for the whole family.
Tokyo Union Church
Free entry

Donations gratefully accepted in aid of
MOHN - Mission for Our Homeless Neighbors

By Sandy on Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 11:02 am:

Tokyo: Toyocho YMCA Annual Christmas Open House and Bazaar
2011 Dec. 23 from 10:00-16:00
at Toyocho center in Koto-ku
Cheap food, crafts, flea market, new stuff market, some games for kids, entertainment.

Donated clothing, games, etc. accepted. Please call for details regarding drop-off. Items will be accepted for re-sale until December 22 at the Toyocho center (you can send items by Yu-pak if you can not drop them off).

By Admin on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 2:20 am:

Tokyo Kameari Christ Evangelical Church
Christmas Concert
December 23, 2011
tel: 03-3605-0908
Kitaayase or Kameari stations way up in Adachi-ku
Open at 18:00, concert starts at 18:30
Excellent pianist!

By Admin on Saturday, December 3, 2011 - 11:30 am:

[Sapporo] International Christian Fellowship Church
has bi-lingual Christmas services every year!

International Christian Fellowship Church
1-5-1-12. Miyanosawa. Nishi-Ku
Sapporo, Hokkaido. 063-0051
Tel: (011) 669-3038
Fax: (011) 669-3058
E-mail: info[at]

By Kurz on Friday, December 2, 2011 - 12:39 am:

Tokyo Baptist Church (Shibuya) is doing the singing Christmas Tree this year (I think they only do it every other year).

Singing Christmas Tree (free but tickets required)
Dec 3 & 4 and Dec 10 & 11, 2011
Two weekends -- Different music and Christmas message each week.

Christmas Candle Light Services
Dec 24 & 25 all weekend…
Dec 24: Christmas eve 16:00, 18:00 & 20:00pm
Dec 25: Christmas day 9:00, 11:00 & 13:30

By Kurz on Friday, December 2, 2011 - 12:30 am:

[Tokyo] Swedish Christmas Bazaar
December 4, 2011 at the Embassy
11:00 - 15:00
* Lucia Queen of Lights and her attendants singing at 12:00 and 13:30.
* Baked goods.
* Handicrafts,
* etc.
Entrance: Y500 to benefit Tohoku

By Kurz on Friday, December 2, 2011 - 12:23 am:

I once again turned to the internet to order German Christmas baking. This time I used a place called "Spezialitaeten Haus fuer Aachener Printen und Lebkuchen". I got a lovely package of all the goodies from my childhood!
email: info [at]

By Kurz on Thursday, November 22, 2007 - 9:07 pm:

Ordering Christmas Baking via Internet: from Germany I ordered a lovely package of various Lebkuchen plus even a small Stollen using this web site: (bi-lingual)
It's not a fully functioning on-line shop, but with a little patience... These baked goods are the real thing!

My combination gift box arrived yesterday (very quickly). I wanted it in time for the first advent.

The rest of the information on this company:
Lebkuchen Schmidt GmbH&Co.KG
Nuernberger Lebkuchen, Gebaeck und andere feine Spezialitaeten
Zollhausstrasse 30, 90469 Nuernberg
tel: 49 - 911/8966-0, fax: 0911/8966-222
e: info[at]

I think you might even be able to order by telephone if you get the catalog first. They use all natural ingredients.

By Sandy on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 - 3:21 pm:

YOKOHAMA: Annual Christmas Bazaar
Where : Saint Maur International School
When : Sunday 18th November 2007
Time : 10:00 to 16:00
Free Admission, Rain or Shine !
Come to enjoy home made cakes, games for children, various vendors. Directions available at:

By Sandy on Monday, October 29, 2007 - 11:28 pm:

This year's German Christmas Bazaar is on December 1 starting at 13:00.
Kita Shinagawa 6-5-26
141-0001 Tokyo Japan
Telefon und Fax: (03) 3441-0673
Map from JR Gotanda station:

The Bazaar is always held on the first Advent before Christmas.

By Sandy on Monday, October 29, 2007 - 10:59 pm:

Isetan Department Store (Shinjuku, Tokyo) - Children's Christmas Party
December 2 (Sunday) from 14:30 to 16:00
I-Club has 10 places reserved (ages 5-12). If you are not an I-Club member, it's easy and free to become one.

The deadline is November 20 to pay for the ticket (Y2100 per child). The party includes cake, snacks and presents. And entertainment by the children story book character: Penelope (a koala bear born in France) with "special variety show and concert". I Club phone number is 03-3225-2514 (at this phone number they speak English). Make a reservation before they fill up.

P.S. Parents need not attend. 1.5 hours of freedom! The I-club staff will watch over the kid(s).

By Cornelia on Thursday, September 8, 2005 - 2:54 am:

OK. something is wrong with the software. Really sorry for the multiple posts.
Gingerbread houses - German style (originally posted 28 October 2000 - reposted today to include map which mysteriously disappeared)

I just happened to walk by a small bakery on a side street in Akasaka (not far from the American Embassy living compound) and, to my surprise, saw piles and piles of gingerbread houses! Keiji-san is busy making them already because he needs about 500 every year.

They are selling for about 8000 yen and have electric lighting inside. Wow! Not to mention a few other things available like whole grain breads. He will also ship them. He speaks German fairly well.

K-B Keiji
6-3-12 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
see map here at

By Mono on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 10:26 am:

For those who are in or visiting Northern Kanto!

"100 Christmas Trees" in Tsukuba. For a list of events during this event, please click:

...and for additional information:

Oh, and here's a list of Christmas events (light ups) in Japan:

By Yuko Kubota on Thursday, December 4, 2003 - 7:02 pm:

On a related note, we once wrote a bilingual letter addressed to "Santa Clause, Finland" and got a response in Japanese! We brought the letter when we met the Finnish Santa, and I think he autographed it for us.

The Finnish Santa also comes to Finland No Mori in Nasu, Tochigi Pref.

By irena on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 3:48 pm:

At Ueno Matsuzakaya, children would be allowed to shake hands and have pictures with Santa on 24 Dec, 10-18.00

By Cornelia on Wednesday, December 4, 2002 - 8:32 am:

Dear Leonard at Isetan Department store in Shinjuku just sent this to me:
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2002 19:32:07 +0900
Dear Ms. Kurz,

I have just received a new information regarding Santa Claus, and hope this e-mail could help with your writing.

Due to the high demand of the Santa Claus event from customers, Isetan has decided to have the following events revived this year:

On December 14th and 15th, there will be a special corner for photograph taking with Santa on the 6th floor of the main building. It will cost 300 Yen per photo with poloroid. There will be three sessions per day: from 12:00, 14:00, and 16:00. Each session is for 40 applicants only.

This event will be moved to the seventh floor on the 21st and 22nd of December.

From 21st to 23rd of December at the opening hour (10:00 AM), we would have a Santa Claus to stand in front of the main entrance to greet customers coming in.

Related to this event, we will have JACKSON 5 "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" song aired in the store starting from 19th to 25th of December.


Maybe a few phone calls to the Kichijoji store will produce a similar result?

By Admin on Tuesday, December 3, 2002 - 7:31 am:

FINALLY -- A REAL LIVE SANTA in an accessible place (sort of)

I finally tracked this down!

An old friend (from Texas) is going to be the Santa from 10:30 - 16:30 on 12/23 at the Vivre department store in Shin-Yurigaoka. I think the phone number there is 044-951-5501. Santa definitely speaks English. There were three 1-hour photo sessions on the first floor just outside the main entrance last year, 10:30-11:30, 13:30-14:30, & 15:30-16:30, so the schedule might be similar this year, but best to place a call and check.

By Admin on Saturday, November 30, 2002 - 8:14 am:

Dear Ms. Kurz,

I finally got the answer from Kichijoji Isetan and am sorry to advise you that the information you received is not accurate as the Santa Claus event at Kichijoji does not exist. Like the main store, the kichijoji store had it last year but they decided not to carry on that event this year unfortunately.

Following your request here are the list of Isetan Stores in Tokyo area, besides the main store in Shinjuku:

Tachikawa Isetan : 042-525-1111
Kichijoji Isetan: 0422-21-1111
Matsudo Isetan : 047-363-1111
Urawa Isetan: 048-834-1111
Sagamihara Isetan: 042-740-1111
Fuchu Isetan: 042-334-1111

For your information, for Christmas this year, the Chrismas tree illumination is the only event that Kichijoji Store holds on the 3rd floor of its annex building.

Regards, Leonard Tjhia

I CLUB -- Foreign Customer Service
3-14-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
Tel: 03-3225-2514 Fax: 03-3225-2513

By Cornelia on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 1:43 pm:

This just came in:
At the Hotel Inter-Continental (03)-5404-2222 in Hamamatsucho there will be 3 Christmas music performances in the lobby daily 22-25 December 2002.
Times: 18:00-18:20, 18:50-19:10 and 19:40-20:00
Performing groups:
22 Dec. University of Seishin Choir
23 Dec. Noel Choir
24 and 25 Dec. Niza Choir (a small children's group singing Christmas songs in Japanese)

I tried to get a bunch of Christmas events up at
but I must admit that a surprising number of places had not yet finalized their plans for the season by deadline.

By Tracy Okuma on Thursday, November 28, 2002 - 5:45 pm:

Santa has been know to turn up at the Isetan in Kichijoji, he does allow photos and he usually comes loaded with sweeties.
This Santa is pretty good and the photos are about 300 yen.
Check out the Isetan in Kichijoji, sorry at the mo have no contact numbers???

By Joanne Lin on Thursday, November 28, 2002 - 5:02 pm:

I wish to take my 1 year old too see Santa on his first X'mas. Does anyone knows where the Santa is in Tokyo? Do we allow to take photos together with him?

By Admin on Thursday, October 31, 2002 - 6:43 am:

From Isetan Department Store by email 30 October 2002:

"After checking with our sales and promotional section regarding the event for Christmas this year, I am afraid to advise you that it seems Santa is not coming to Isetan this year. Instead of Santa, the event for Christmas this year would be Anpanman (famous character from Japanese cartoon), and also other event featuring Snoopy and his friends."

It seems that Santa is no longer popular in the Tokyo commercial circle. If anyone knows of any Santas coming to town in privately sponsored events that are open to the public, please let us know!

By Cornelia on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 5:33 pm:

Dear Tracy,

The only places to see really great Christmas trees are generally in the big hotels. Sometimes a department store might have a nice one.

The trees at the Imperial Hotel this year are a bit uninspired but my daughter liked them very much anyway as well as the big reindeer over the side entrance.

The Westin Hotel in Ebisu has a nice and very big tree in the lobby with lots of little figures and miniature sets arranged at the base which is pretty good entertainment for little kids but watch out -- they like to touch! They really look festive with lots of gold bunting on the stair railings.

Hope this helps! BTW a lot of this stuff comes down really fast at the end of Christmas day to make room for the Japanese New Year decorations...

By Natalia on Wednesday, December 5, 2001 - 11:07 am:

Forwarding this from a Japanese email list, in case anyone is interested.
I thought you may be interested to know that there is a special price for mailing Christmas cards at the post office. I don't know which countries it applies to, but I do know it is OK for the USA. I send big, American cards that usually cost at least 250 yen for each card. If you write "Christmas Card" on the front of the envelope and tell the clerk at the post office it is a Christmas card, it will only cost 110 yen (the cost of a letter). Many small post offices do not know about this service, but if you tell them to check, they will find out.
5 December 2001
Since there were people interested in the message allow me to make one more
addition which came today:
This works for any greeting card, any time of year, including birthdays,
and is in the rule book as "Greeting Card" rule, so rather than writing
Christmas card, write (in katakana) "GuRiTiNGu Ka-Do". I just did it this
morning, and the poor post office guy did have to look up the rule, but he
found it and the cards are on the way. It works for any international mail
sent from Japan.
Hope this will save some of you lots of money!

By Tracy Okuma on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 6:26 pm:

Xmas Tree lighting up dates ??

Does anyone know of where there will be a Xmas tree lighting up time??
Also where are the best Xmas tree and lights in Tokyo to be found?

Happy Xmas to all

By IWIC on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 2:08 pm:

Cornelia suggested I add notice of this event here. Please feel free to come along.

Xmas.Net - Tokyo's Biggest Christmas Networking Bash for Professionals
Wednesday, 5 December 2001

Don't miss the early bird discount: Y6,000 for advance payment; Y7,500 at the door. (Details below and at Reservations can be emailed to:

Organized by Code-J, the International Computer Association, International Women in Communications and the Tokyo PC Users Group.

Bigger and Better and Not To Be Missed.
This year's Christmas Party will feature music, a top quality buffet and three hours open bar at one of Tokyo's most famous venues.

-- All-you-can-eat (about 14 items) and all-you-can-drink (about 14 cocktails/ beer/ soft drinks to choose from)
-- 3 and 1/2 hrs use of the entire restaurant including the patio and private rooms
-- 16 bartenders, in addition to food serving staff to assist with the party

For more details please check out

Date: Wednesday 5th December 2001
Time: 7.00 p.m. - 10.00 p.m. (Doors open at 6.30 p.m.)
Location: Shirogane La Boheme 1F and 2F
4-19-17 Shiroganedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3442-4488
Transport: 5 minutes walk from Shirogane-dai station, 15 minutes walk from Hiroo or JR Meguro station, east exit.
Cost: 6,000 yen in advance; 7,500 yen on the door

RSVP Requested. See details below.
Advance Registration Procedure:
A. Payment on the night:
If you intend to pay 7,500 yen at the door, please send a mail to giving your name and the total number of your party.

B. Advance Payment:
1) Transfer (ginko furikomi) 6,000 yen per person to the following account:
Bank Name: Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Branch Name: Gotanda Nishiguchi #233
Account Type: Regular (Futsuu)
Account Number: 1439936
Account Name: XMAS

2) Send an e-mail to with the following information:
- Full names of those attending.
- Your bank account number, account name and the transferred amount and the date it was sent.

3) You will receive a confirmation mail.
Send any queries to

See these web sites for more details about the organizing groups:
International Computer Association:
International Women in Communications:
Tokyo PC Users Group:

For further details or updates please refer to the event website,, designed by Douglas Janiskee of Jellyfish Media.

By Cornelia on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 8:19 am:

---The "Tokyo Millenario" Festival of Light is to be held again this year-end, with the Marunouchi District as its main venue. The scheduled dates are Monday December 24th to Tuesday January 1st, and the event will be promoted by the Tokyo Millenario Organizing Committee. "Spalliera" wall-projection lightworks will again be seen in the Plaza of the Tokyo International Forum --- close to Tokyo Station.
Tokyo Millenario Organizing Committee Secretariat Tel. 03-3287-5208

By Cornelia on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 2:57 pm:

Christmas shopping:
Maruzen Bookstore at Ochanomizu station is having a nice sidewalk sale. There are some bins with 50% off stuff in them, other markdowns and a decent selection of Children's books in English as well as the Harry Potter calendars (about 2000 yen) and so on. Tel: (03) 3295-5581

By Kirk on Sunday, December 26, 1999 - 8:22 am:

The Kumanichi has a page introducing spots to see Christmas lights in Kumamoto (the page is in Japanese but is made up mostly of pictures):

One of the better spots is very near my apartment on the Higashi Bypass, in Obiyama (which is in Kumamoto City):

Also this is a bit late, but I'd like to write a bit about the Aso Christmas Balloon Festival. It's already started and will continue until noon Sunday. I'm going to go up there with my family tomorrow (Saturday). I'm particularly interested in seeing the balloons light up the sky at night and the fireworks show planned for that evening. I called and found out that if you go to the Uchinomaki area of Aso you'll have no trouble finding the event. If you'd like to call to get more information the number to dial is: 0967-23-6110. If you'd like to look at a poster (mostly in English) that has been put up to advertise the event please look at the following page:

I found the basic information (in Japanese) about this event at the following site:

By Kirk on Monday, December 20, 1999 - 11:36 am:

I read a little article in the local paper about a big Christmas tree (10 meters tall, 4 meters across at the base) that was put up in the "JT (Japan Tobacco) Kumamoto Housing Garden" which I think is right across the street from the entrance to Kumamoto Gakuen University (Oe 3 chome) -- it's very close to me but I haven't seen it yet.

Here's a picture of it:

The article says that kids can write messages to Santa that will be taped to the tree -- an interesting way of infusing Japanese tradition (from Shinto shrines) with Christmas.

Happy holidays!
Kirk Masden

P.S. The address for the Japanese article is:

By Cornelia on Wednesday, December 8, 1999 - 11:06 am:

More info from Imperial Hotel, Hibiya, Tokyo (Hibiya subway station):

"And if there is someone who can speak or read Japanese, we have Christmas information on our internet homepage
so please have a look.
Our hotel is now decorated so if you have any chance to come, please drop in."

By Cornelia on Wednesday, December 8, 1999 - 5:58 am:

Dear Ms. Cornelia Kurz,

Thank you for your facsimile of December 1st.

We do have a few Christmas events for children, but most of them are already full.

The event that we can still introduce is a event called "Santa to isshoni Family Christmas" which means "Party with Santa Claus" in the bufffet style restaurant "The Rainbow Room".

This is a lunch party with Santa Claus and the children can sing songs and Santa will go around to all the guest's tables to say Merry Christmas and to take a photograph if the guests like to. And there will be a gift for each child.
For adult 7,000 yen, child (4 to elementry school student) 5,000 yen and child (3 and under) 3,000 yen, excluding tax. The dates are 23, 24, 25 December, 11:30am to 1:00pm, and 1:30pm to 3:00 pm, but only 24 is still possible.

If you need further information, please contact me any time.

Sincerely, Mana Komatsu
Marketing & Planning, Imperial Hotel, Tokyo
Tel 03-3539-8015, Fax 03-3504-1474

By Kirk on Wednesday, December 8, 1999 - 5:44 am:

Well, it's that time of year. People are starting to get in the holiday mood.

Today I read a story in the Kumanichi (local paper) about a mountain that is now decorated to look like a huge Christmas tree. The mountain, called O^zuyama (I hope this is the correct reading), is located in Nankan (which is north of Kumamoto City, near the border with Fukuoka Prefecture). Until the 9th of January it will be lit up every night from 6 to 10. I hope I'll have a chance to show it to my children before Christmas.

You can see a picture of the mountain lit up at night at the following address:

Here is the address of the Japanese article:

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