As the temperature drops and tourists and students alike return to their homes to celebrate the holidays, Tokyo transforms into a winter wonderland, offering events and activities not commonly seen throughout the other months. From unique conventions and traditional festivals, there is plenty to do in the frosty city in December, including the major festive transformation of the city to celebrate the holidays. While not a national holiday, Christmas has gained popularity as a festive occasion, with decorations, illuminations, and gift-giving. Additionally, many Japanese people view Christmas as a time for spreading cheer, making it a season marked by colorful lights, displays, and a sense of merriment. So check out these events and more that you can find this December in Tokyo.
Tokyo Comic-Con 2023
Tokyo Comic Con is a popular annual event dedicated to comics, pop culture, entertainment, and other various aspects of comic culture. Like many other cons, you will find various exhibitors and vendors selling a wide range of collectibles and merchandise, as well as multiple panels and workshops providing insight into the industry for those curious about the field. Among these panels, Tokyo Comic Con typically features celebrity guest appearances. For 2023, you can expect big names such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Christopher Lloyd, and many more that are yet to be announced.
Admission: Pass dependent
Date: December 8th-10th, 2023
Location: Makuhari Messe
Jump Festa 2024
Jump Festa is a popular anime and manga convention that has been held annually since 1999 by major manga publisher, Shueisha, known around the world for their Weekly Shounen Jump magazine. The convention serves as a platform for announcements, previews, and exclusive content for their manga series and offers a wide variety of exhibitions, vendors, and presentations for fans of the franchise. Voice actors, creators, and various staff of popular series are also common to find at meet-and-greet panels, providing multiple opportunities for fan interactions. This year, you can expect beloved series such as Spy x Family, Demon Slayer, and One Piece to make an appearance, as well as cult classics for the die-hard fans of older series.
Date: December 16th-17th, 2023
Location: Makuhari Messe
Oji Inari Shrine Fox Parade
The Oji Inari Shrine Fox Parade (Oji Kitsune no Gyoretsu), is a captivating annual event held at the Oji Inari shrine in Tokyo, which is dedicated to the fox deity, Inari. It takes place on New Year’s Eve and is notable for its display of people dressed as foxes, fox face paint, and just about anything fox-related, exemplifying the devotion to the theme of the event. So if you are interested in immersing yourself in some traditional folklore unique to Japan, the Oji Inari Shrine Fox Parade is a great place to start. The parade itself typically starts at the shrine and makes its way around Tokyo, featuring special performances and dances as well.
Date: December 31st, 2023 – January 1st, 2024
Location: Ōji Inari Shrine
Tokyo Christmas Market 2023
A definite staple in Japanese Christmas events, the Tokyo Christmas Market offers an authentic holiday experience every year with towering Christmas trees, jolly bright lights and decorations, and live festive music to raise the Christmas spirit. As the event is sponsored by the German Embassy and the German Tourism Association, there will be a variety of European foods and gifts available for sale, including hot chocolate for the children and some delectable warm wines for the more mature audience.
Admission: 1000 Yen – 2000 Yen (Advanced tickets recommended)
Date: December 23rd-25th, 2023
Location: Meiji Jingu Gaien
Midtown Christmas (Winter Lights) 2023
Taking place in Midtown, Tokyo, the venue typically dons a festive atmosphere and offers a bright illumination event coupled with seasonal activities such as ice skating.This year will feature “Gold Trees” in addition to the regular Christmas tree and foliage lights.
Date: November 16th – December 25th, 2023
Location: Tokyo Midtown
Tokyo Skytree Town Dream Christmas
As one of Tokyo’s most notable landmarks, it’s no surprise that the venue offers a festive environment during the Holidays in the Skytree Town. You’ll be able to find Christmas decorations, performances, food and even Christmas-themed photo spots on the observation deck throughout the event. Even the Skytree Tower itself will feature holiday-themed illumination depending on the day, with vibrant color palettes of green and red lighting up the Tokyo night.
Date: November 9th – December 25th, 2023
Location: Tokyo Skytree
White KITTE 2023
Situated in the artistic KITTE Marunouchi building which is right by Tokyo Station, White KITTE is an annual holiday illumination event that is entering its 10th iteration. The theme for this year is 10th Anniversary Christmas: A Christmas of Thoughts, decorating the entire venue in a beautiful white aesthetic. One of the standouts of White Kitte are the real fir trees covered in faux snow, with a 12-meter tall tree in the middle of the venue, making it a popular photo spot.
Date: November 22nd – December 25th, 2023
Location: KITTE Marunouchi
Shibuya Blue Cave – Day & Night
Boasting over 770,000 LEDs, this illumination event focuses on the unconventional holiday colour of blue, lighting up the zelkova trees in Yoyogi Park to create a mesmerizing 800-meter walking trail. This year, Shibuya Blue Cave will feature a Christmas market for the first time titled “Day & Night,” offering a variety of holiday food and merchandise for sale. The market starts at 3 PM and is open until 10 PM.
Date: December 1st – 25th, 2023
Location: Yoyogi Park Zelkova Trees
Minna no Illumi
Replicating the beautiful Spring cherry blossoms, over 400,000 pink LEDs run alongside the Meguro River to create a winter hanami experience. The true beauty of this event lies not within the lights themselves, but instead in the source of their energy, as the event’s power consists of cooking oil waste from local restaurants and households.
Date: November 10th – January 8th, 2023
Can’t make it to any of these events? No worries as many small streets, restaurants and shopping centers will definitely put up decorations, meaning that it will be nearly impossible to escape the Christmas cheer during December. Many seasonal products and events that are unique to the Winter will be available, including the famous KFC meal that has become a trending order on Christmas Day. Still wanting to know more about winter in Japan? Check out our blog post about things to do in the Wintertime while in the country!
Featured Photo by Kevin Bidwell via Pexels
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