All About Japan

A Primer on Christmas in Japan

Zoo Video Christmas Saitama

Upbeat Kiwi YouTuber Mimei offers her tips on Christmas in Japan, walking us through Christmas cakes, KFC and the slightly odd local use of not-quite-stockings—not to mention how it's a time for couples. We'd argue that Valentine's is also big for couples, but since it's weirdly split between women approaching men on February 28 and men reciprocating a month later on White Day, Christmas probably does win overall.

Mimei also walks us through New Year's in Japan, or o-shogatsu, including osechi ryori, late-night temple visits and otoshidama (envelopes full of money for kids), as well as secondary traditions like TV watching, year-end sales and fukubukuro: "lucky bags" with random leftover stuff from retail stores inside.

Finally, we get a walk-through of Christmas in New Zealand and some gratuitous but lovely shots of year-end illumination at Tobu Zoo in Saitama. If you want a quick primer on everything about the end of the year in Japan, this is a great place to go!