In Japan, Christmas is Celebrated With KFC, Lights and Romance.


Image of Colonel Santa Sanders taken by Arielle for this post!

A special post created to share Christmas in Japan by Arielle.

Arielle is an American currently living with her husband in Okinawa, Japan and over this past year has become a virtual friend. She is not a blogger so it is all the more special that she made this post to share with my readers.

Me-ree  Ku-ree-soo-ma-soo from sunny Okinawa, Japan! 

As with many Asian countries, Japan is not a traditionally Christian nation and, therefore, does not celebrate the religious holiday, but rather the Hallmark holiday of santas and snowmen. 

The tiny Japanese subtropical island of Okinawa, which my wonderful husband and I have called home for the past three years, offers a glorious blend of Japanese and American culture sprinkled with the peaceful, laid-back mentality that often accompanies island life. Walking into the local 100-Yen shops (something akin to some of the nicer dollar stores Stateside,) this time of year, shoppers will find all sorts of small holiday decorations.

Gift giving at Christmastime seems to be focused mostly on children, and often takes the shape of monetary gifts presented in beautifully-detailed, festive envelopes available in most stores. 

Interestingly, Christmas is also seen as a Valentine-esque holiday here, with many couples dressing up and going out for a fancy dinner date to celebrate the season. 

Two of the traditions my hubby and I have come to associate with Okinawa Christmas are Christmas cakes and Kentucky Fried Chicken. You can order a Christmas cake from your local grocery store or bakery, and they come in an impressive array of flavors.  As presentation is such a large factor in Japanese food, each Christmas cake is a miniature work of art.  Whether you choose my personal favorite of white cake, white icing, and strawberry slices, my husbandÂ’s favorite of dark chocolate cake with layers of rich chocolate mousse and a covering of semi-sweet chocolate ganache, or a delicious Japanese cheese cake (heavy on the cheese,) you are sure to find a cake that will be visually appealing and make your taste buds happy you indulged! 

Be sure to get your order in early, and if you need a last-minute cake, the friendly staff at Baskin Robbins will help you complete your Christmas menu.  Christmas cakes are perfect for gift-giving, and you just might start a tradition of your own in sending your friends their favorite variety!


Christmas Cakes - image by Arielle

And while our counterparts back in the United States are feasting on spreads of ham or turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes, a “set” of Kentucky Fried Chicken is a very popular choice for Christmas dinner on Okinawa.  KFC offers an extended, extensive menu specifically for the holiday season. 

Visitors can get their photos taken with a Santa-suit clad Colonel Sanders, and order from KFCÂ’s Premium Series, Party Barrels, or Party Packs.  Their specially-seasoned chicken is quite a departure from the yummy seafood fare readily available throughout the year, and while itÂ’s not reserved for only Christmas dinner, it is considered a very special treat by many locals as well as “imports” like my hubby and me who enjoy a little taste of home now and again!


KFC Christmas menu by Arielle

So next holiday season, when you are stressed out of your gourd from all your holiday gift-making and baking, and just canÂ’t face the idea of preparing a big Christmas dinner, tell your family youÂ’re celebrating Christmas Okinawa-style.  Grab some KFC and a Christmas cake and celebrate like an islander!

Me-ree  Ku-ree-soo-ma-soo!


Christmas Barrel of Chicken by Arielle

THANK YOU ARIELLE !  I love your post!

As soon as I read Arielle's Christmas Japan style post, I wrote Diane and told her I thought the Japanese might have something here. I could easily get behind relaxing with a bucket of chicken and a decadent Christmas Cake - especially the cake!

intel christmas tree in akihabara

Intel Tree in Akihabara by shinyai

Although, as Areille shares in her post, the Japanese people are on the whole not Christian and do not celebrate the religious holiday, they certainly love the idea of decorating for the holiday! AND they love their Christmas cakes! Link here to view some amazing - and beautiful - light displays and Christmas cakes that share beautifully what Christmas is all about Japanese Style! Don't miss the Darth Vader Santa!

Illumination in Tokyo 2008 Xmas

Illumination in Tokyo by D.J. Milky

It seems that the holiday is also akin to Valentines Day in America and sweethearts invite each other out to an extravagant dinner as a way of showing their affection and devotion. Who knew?


Hello Kitty in Christmas Parade by ignites

Below are a few links to how Christmas is celebrated in Japan in case you wish to read more.

But for me, there is nothing quite so satisfying as hearing about Arielles' first hand experiences. Again, thank you Arielle.

Christmas in Japan

Christmas Celebrations in Japan

Christmas Traditions in Japan

Japanese Culture: Christmas Eve in Japan

Love the Santa Sanders!

Love the Santa Sanders! Thanks or sharing this with us Areille.

It surely seems a lot easier

It surely seems a lot easier then our traditions. I would love one of those cakes.

This is so funny. i had to

This is so funny. i had to look at what the intel tree was decorated with. Colonel Sanders does make an interesting Santa! Thanks for sharing this brought a smile to my face this afternoon. :)