The Difference Between Christmas in Japan and America

So diverse!


Emma Thomson, Contributor

You’d expect Christmas to be the same all around the world, and for most countries, it is the same, just with a few their own traditions mixed in as well. Japan is a different story. Japan celebrates Christmas in a completely different way!

  1. In Japan Christmas isn’t even an established holiday. In the U.S. Christmas became an official holiday in 1870, and there is no work or school during Christmas break. Well, that’s not the case for Japan! Many don’t know this but Christmas is more of a couples holiday than a family day in Japan. Many don’t know this but Christmas is more of a couples holiday than a family day in Japan.
  2. In the US, businesses are usually closed half a day early on December 24th, Christmas Eve, and are all closed on Christmas Day. And because Christmas isn’t an actual holiday in Japan, all businesses are open. Even on official holidays in Japan, businesses are open. There isn’t even a raise for working through a holiday!
  3. The Japanese decorated their Christmas Tree every year as we do, but not like you’d expect. It’s rare for a family to get a full-sized or even a medium-sized tree (because, for one, their houses aren’t so spacious). Picking out a nice clean or fresh tree does not exist in Japan as it does in America. In Japan Christmas Trees usually sit outside of the house, not inside.
  4. In America, there are many houses covered in Christmas decorations, many people invest their time and money to make their house bright and colorful and some don’t. In Japan, many people don’t decorate at all, houses are just as they were before but with one occasional house actually decorated.
  5. Santa exists in Japan as it does in America, the only problem is that in Japan their houses don’t have chimneys, so how does Santa deliver his presents? No one actually knows, and children don’t really pay attention to that small flaw, but they still set out milk and cookies for Santa to snack on!
  6. The most common Christmas dinner in Japan is Fried Chicken, sounds unique right? But it really is a tradition to make or buy fried chicken for their special Christmas dinner. As in America many families either don’t have a Christmas dinner or go all out with Turkey/chicken, green beans, and more! And the most iconic Christmas cake in Japan is Strawberry Shortcake, no one knows why but no one’s complaining!


Photo and information credit:

First Photo:


Second Photo:

Oleg Zaicev

Featured Image:

Source 1:

How different Christmas is in Japan & America

Source 2:

5 Reasons Christmas is Different in Japan