Christmas tree in the Marubiru
Christmas was initially introduced to Japan with the arrival of the first Europeans in the 16th century. But only in recent decades has the event become widely popular in Japan, and this despite the fact that Christians make up only about two percent of the population.

While christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, more and more people are taking up traditions such as decorating their home, giving presents to friends and celebrating the event with a special meal.

In a survey conducted by among young Japanese people, a majority of 54 percent responded that christmas means something special to them, with women and teenagers showing a particular attraction.

Most enthusiastic about christmas, however, seem to be retail stores and shopping malls, where christmas trees, santa clauses and other seasonal decorations can be found several weeks in advance. Some public places also feature seasonal illuminations.

The traditional Japanese christmas food is the christmas cake, usually made of sponge cake, strawberries and whipped cream. In our survey, as many as 73 percent responded to celebrate christmas with a cake.

Christmas Cake

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Page last updated: December 17, 2003