Hi guys, it’s Kirby and today I’m going to show you the top 5 things to do in Tokyo during the festive holiday season! Tokyo really takes it to another level for Christmas, and fun fact, only about 1% of the population are Christian, but the majority of them love to celebrate Christmas! So that’s why you’ll find Christmas markets, festive light installations, and tons of holiday merch to buy everywhere you go.
If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo during the holidays or just looking for some festive inspiration, you’re in the right place.
Tokyo Disney Magic: “First up is of COURSE the happiest place on Earth –Tokyo Disney Resort!
When you first come into the park, you’ll notice a huge Christmas Tree in the middle, and lucky for us, it’s also Tokyo Disney’s 40th anniversary so it’s a double celebration. It’s gorgeous in the day time, but its even more beautiful at night. I noticed that a lot of Japanese residents, girls in particular, will come together dressed in super festive themed outfits and the park is like a backdrop for their Christmas photoshoot.
In addition to the tree, there are tons and tons of holiday decorations and décor. The entire front section is adorned with wreaths, ornaments, holiday displays, and it does trickle throughout the park but the main holiday area is in the front. Also just a tip, if you’re deciding which of the two parks to go to, I am quite certain that Tokyo Disney Resort has A LOT more holiday themed things to see so make sure you choose this park if that’s what you’re after. But note, this park is way busier than Tokyo Disney Sea and when I went, it was so full of people that it felt impossible sometimes to even buy from the gift store or get a photo without someone else in it.
Now lets talk about the festive food. Tokyo Disney always come up with amazing unique park food and during the holiday season it’s no different. We first went to Camp Woodchuck Kitchen located in Westernland and we got a variety of items that were half part of the holiday menu, and half just my regular go-tos. I got their Strawberry Milk Tapioca Drink, the Smoked Chicken Leg, Onigiri Beef Short Rib Sandwich, and their Crème Brulee Style Churros.
After going a few rides, I tried the Soy Sauce and Butter Popcorn which was honestly super yummy in my opinion. However, my friend tried it and hated it so, just take our personal preferences with a grain of salt cause it’s really up to your own palate. After the popcorn, I went to search for the Pink Bacon and Cheese Hot Dog which was a festive item and I found it at Refreshment Corner near the front of the park. It was super busy but we somehow snagged a table! The only other festive food item I got was their special Christmas chocolate churro – which I was slightly disappointed by only because the lines were so long for this but it just tasted like a regular churro with very little chocolate flavour
So with all of the food out of the way, I want to mention that there are even themed holiday rides like the Haunted Mansion which they spruced up for the holiday season! They also updated a few of their parades into a festive theme which was really cool to see.
Christmas Market Extravaganza
Now… the second thing you have to do in Tokyo during the holidays is… visit their Christmas markets! Tokyo has them in abundance, but my personal favorite is German Style Yokohama Christmas Market located at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse. It is one of the larger Christmas markets in Tokyo and It’s about a 40 minute subway ride from Tokyo.
This market is the perfect place to visit for families, couples, friends, and even fur parents because they literally created 2 dog parks just for this event! I saw so many people dressing up their dogs and bringing them to the market. It was so adorable and I wish I could’ve brought my dog.
There were A LOT of people so try to go early if possible. They open at 11am and I would recommend going in the afternoon and staying till night cause I came at 5pm and waited a good 45 minutes before I could get in.
Now when it comes to the food, there was A LOT to choose from because over 70% of the entire market are food stalls. They sold a lot of traditional German food which I found pretty awesome and quite interesting given we’re in Japan. But the stalls do have their own Japanese touch, and you know Japan, they have some pretty unique foods. For example, they sold all kinds of churros and everyone was eating them, they sold garlic shrimp, rice croquette, honey butter chicken, corn soup, beer steamed mussels, the list goes on and on.
I wasn’t too hungry so I ended up getting this tornado sausage on a stick for 500 yen and a mulled wine for 700 yen. Mulled wine is essentially hot red wine usually simmered with spices and fruit. It is definitely a must try and so fitting for a Christmas market.
Overall, if you want to get into the Christmas spirit and soak in the festive atmosphere, you definitely need to check out a Christmas Market while in Tokyo. It’s really unlike anything else.
Holiday Light Installations!
Get ready to be dazzled because no.3 includes visiting the numerous holiday light installations around town! Tokyo lights up during the festive season, and you don’t want to miss it. There are so many going on during the month of December but I went to Marunouchi Bright Christmas Disney Dreams & Wishes installation. Disney is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year as well as the launch of their new movie Wish so they created 5 beautiful light installations all around the Marunouchi area for you to find. It’s a really fun scavenger hunt type game and you can even grab their Disney passports and get them stamped at every installation.
All in all, you’re in for a treat if you go to Tokyo during the winter time. They really go out and honestly you don’t even need to search for these installations because chances are you’ll stumble upon them yourself.
Indulge in Christmas Dessert Buffets and High Teas
Tokyo is known for its extravagant buffets and high teas, but did you know, that during the holidays, they take it up a notch and making it completely themed. I wanted to check it out for myself so I went to the Four Seasons Otemachi and gave their Festive High Tea set a try.
Their high tea is located on the 39th floor so you get some amazing views of the Tokyo skyline which is pretty awesome. When sun sets and the buildings light up, the view is even more amazing.
Their Festive High Tea Set costs $69 USD on the weekdays and $76 USD on the weekends. It comes with 13 different sweet and savoury items per person and unlimited drinks during the 90 min time frame. They had a lot of really cool drinks like hot Strawberry Mocha, iced Spicy Chocolate, and Ginger Tea Soda.
This set was HUGE and we could barely finish everything. Every single item was so delicious and just beautifully presented. My favourite items were the scones and the housemade grape and peach jam! Seriously, those flavours are so uniquely Japanese and I don’t think you’ll get them anywhere else.
Festive Souvenirs + Shopping
Last but not least, when you’re in Tokyo during the holiday season, you’re gonna wanna shop for festive themed souvenirs and merch to bring back home and No holiday adventure is complete without a bit of shopping, am I right?
From quirky trinkets, Christmas snacks, to stylish ornaments, there’s something for everyone. So, don’t forget to grab a piece of Tokyo’s festive spirit to take home with you!”
And there you have it, folks – the top 5 festive things to do in Tokyo during the holiday season! If you enjoyed this blog post and are ready to sprinkle some holiday cheer into your plans, please leave a comment and subscribe to my Youtube channel.
Until next time, happy holidays and happy travels!