15 Festive Christmas Concerts in Tokyo This Season

By Alexandra Homma
November 18, 2015
Lifestyle

With Christmas and the New Year just around the corner, it’s time to start planning ahead for some special events this year. After working hard through yet another year of challenges, changes, ups and downs and all that comes with it, it’s time to celebrate the holidays—whatever they mean to you. Imagine this: picture yourself in a luxurious lounge, relaxing on a comfortable couch, surrounded by uplifting live music, drinking a glittering cocktail in the company of your gal pals, family—or even alone, if that’s what you need. Now, let yourself soak up the festive spirit, free from the hustle and bustle of all everyday routines. If that daydream resonates with you, then allow us to present this year’s Savvy-recommended selection of the top 15 holiday concerts and performances in town.

Christmas Evening with Lalah Hathaway

Two-time Grammy award winner Lalah Hathaway is back in Tokyo to offer the best of adult R&B soul music—perfect for a romantic holiday night with your significant other. With major hits such as “Forever, For Always, For Love,” “I’m Coming Back” and “A Song for You,” plus a newly released album Lalah Hathaway Live, this world-class artist’s deep, rich voice will lift you to a place far from the everyday and mundane.

Perfect for: An uplifting escape.

When: Dec. 23, 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.; Dec. 24-25, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.

Where: Blue Note Tokyo, 6-3-16 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥20,977 (Dec. 23 & 24; includes full-course Christmas dinner); ¥8,800 (Dec. 25)

Reservations: Call 03-5485-0088 or online (Japanese only)

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Special Evenings with Carol Welsman

Internationally acclaimed Canadian jazz diva Carol Welsman brings her sultry piano and vocal show to Tokyo for a long awaited solo concert. Accompanied by a special Christmas dinner, the dress code for the night is “something red.”

Perfect for: A romantic outing or fancy ladies’ night.

When: Dec. 23 and 26, 5:30 and 8:45 p.m.; Dec. 24 and 25, 6:30 and 9:15 p.m.

Where: Cotton Club, 2F Tokia Tokyo Bldg., 2-7-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥19,000–¥22,500 (includes Christmas dinner and glass of welcome champagne). Music charge-only tickets are available for the Dec. 26 concert for¥8,000.

Reservations: 03-3215-1555 or online (Japanese only).

Michie Nakamaru Starry Christmas XIII

If you haven’t heard of Japanese soprano Michie Nakamaru, be sure to put this on your to-do list for the end of the year. Nakamaru, with a back-catalog of over 20 albums and with performances all over the world under her belt, has been gaining widespread international recognition in the past few years. The program will feature compositions from Schubert, Caccini, Mascagni and Casals. Other performers include the all-women Stella Orchestra, Fuminori Shinozaki as guest concertmaster, and pianist Tomohiro Adachi.

Perfect for: A night of classical magic.

When: Dec. 12, 7 p.m.

Where: Suntory Hall, 1-13-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥5,000–¥9,000

Reservations: Aspen Ticket Center (03-5467-0081) or Suntory Hall Ticket Center (0570-55-0017). For more information please click here.

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Disney on Classic: Magical Night 2015

Spend an enchanting evening with Disney’s most beloved songs performed by a world-class orchestra and broadway vocalists. The concert’s theme is “I Love You: The Miracle Word” and it promises to take you to the land of fairy tales, true love, beauty and miracles. Divided into two parts, the main program includes music from Beauty and the Beast, followed by Star Wars, Aladdin and some of Tokyo Disney Resort’s main park and parade music tunes.

Perfect for: A family outing with children.

When: Dec. 25, 7 p.m.; Dec. 26, 2 p.m.

Where: Tokyo International Forum Hall A, 3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥5,200–¥8,300

Reservations: Pre-register online (Japanese only) or call 03-3409-3345. For information in English, click here.

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The Nutcracker

It’s Christmas Eve and a young girl named Clara is alone in her room, gazing through her window at the festive scene of people with presents, skaters on the pond and others hurrying home. Clara receives a special gift, a magical nutcracker that ends up leading her on an astonishing journey of joy and Christmas miracles. With an opening scene that brings to mind modern-day Tokyo—even a surprise appearance by Santa Claus, no less—this New National Theater production of the beautiful Tchaikovsky classic is a heartwarming performance that ends in a most unexpected manner. A new take on an old chestnut.

Perfect for: A gathering with family and friends.

When: Dec. 19–20 and 27, 2 p.m.; Dec. 22, 7 p.m.; Dec. 23 and 26, 1 and 6 p.m.

Where: New National Theatre, Tokyo, 1-1-1, Honmachi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥1,620–¥12,960

Reservations: Call 03-5352-9999 or online (English available).

The Nutcracker with Saint Petersburg State Academic Yacobson Ballet Theatre

Another production of one of the holiday season’s favorite spectacles, this time performed by the world-renowned Saint Petersburg State Academic Yacobson Ballet Theatre, coming to Japan for the first time in four years. A classic production with a bit of nostalgic touch. Note that children below primary school age are not allowed entry except on December 23 and 24, when children four and over will be admitted.

Perfect for: A wistful evening shared with the whole family.

When: Dec. 19 and 20, 2 p.m.; Dec. 23, 2 p.m.; Dec. 24, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Tokyo International Forum Hall A (Dec 19 and 20), 3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Meguro Persimmon Hall (Dec. 23), 1-1-1 Yakumo, Meguro-ku, Tokyo; Olympus Hall Hachioji (Dec. 24), 4-7-1 Koyasumachi, Hachioji, Tokyo.

How much: ¥5,000–¥13,000

Reservations: Call 050-3776-6184 or see the Koransha Ticket Center. For more information click here (Japanese only).

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Trumpet at Holy Night: Christmas Special Concert

Internationally acclaimed Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra principal trumpet player Omar Tomasoni and pianist Jeroen Bal invite you to “look up at the stars” on a romantic Christmas night. Comprising performances of some of Japan’s—and the world’s—best known classics, the evening’s highlights will include “Ave Maria,” “Miagete Goran Yoru no Hoshi wo,” “Rhapsody in Blue” and a special Christmas medley. Children below primary school age are not allowed admittance.

Perfect for: A romantic night with your significant other.

When: Dec. 5 and 10, 6:30 p.m., Dec. 11, 7 p.m.

Where: Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall (Dec. 5), 3-20-2 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo; Fuchu no Mori Geijutsu Gekijo Vienna Hall (Dec. 10), 1-2 Sengencho, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo; Suginami Kokaido Large Hall (Dec. 11), 1-23-15 Kamiogi, Suginami-ku, Tokyo.

How much: ¥4,000

Reservations: Call 050-3776-6184 or see the Koransha Ticket Center. For more information click here (Japanese only).

The Stylistics

A classy performance from world-renowned soul chorus group The Stylisticswith over 40 years of history—promises to be an unforgettable celebration of the holiday season. Stunning illuminations will accompany the show and to add to the festive mood.

Perfect for: A romantic Christmas night.

When: Dec. 25, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.; Dec. 26–27, 6 and 9 p.m.

Where: Billboard Live Tokyo, 4F Tokyo Midtown Garden Terrace, 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥10,500–¥17,000

Reservations: Call 03-3405-1133. For more information click here (Japanese only).

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Christmas Ave Maria: St. Petersburg Chamber Ensemble Divertissement

A special Christmas program led by concertmaster Ilya Ioff with renowned sopranos Marina Tregubovich and Natalia Makarova. No children under primary school age permitted. In addition to several Tokyo concerts, the orchestra will also be playing concerts in Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama. See the website below for further details.

Perfect for: Enjoying in the company of family, friends or relatives.

When: Dec. 5, 1 p,m,; Dec. 6, 11:30 a.m.; Dec. 13, 3:30 p.m.; Dec. 19, 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Dec. 22, 7 p.m.; Dec. 24, 1 and 7 p.m., Dec. 25, 1 p.m.

Where: Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall (Dec. 5-6 and Dec. 13, 19, 25), 3-20-2 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo; Olympus Hall Hachioji (Dec. 22), 4-7-1 Koyasumachi, Hachioji, Tokyo; Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre (Dec. 24, 1 p.m.), 1-8-1 Nishiikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo; Machida Shimin Hall (Dec. 24, 7 p.m.), 2-2-36 Morino, Machida-shi, Tokyo.

How much: ¥4,500

Reservations: Call 050-3776-6184 or see the Koransha Ticket Center. For more information click here (Japanese only).

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Trinity Boys Choir Christmas Concert 2015

The famous Trinity Boys Choir from the prestigious Trinity School in London have arranged a perfect Christmas program for their Tokyo fans, featuring classics such as “Over the Rainbow,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and, of course, “Jingle Bells.” In addition to two Tokyo shows, there will also be performances in Kanagawa (see the website below for details). No children under primary school age.

Perfect for: A holiday experience with the family.

When: Dec. 13, 11:30 a.m.; Dec. 14, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall (Dec. 13), 3-20-2 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo; St. Mary’s Cathedral, Tokyo (Dec. 14), 3-16-15 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo.

How much: ¥3,500–¥6,500

Reservations: Call 050-3776-6184. For further details, click here (Japanese only).

Kristian Bezuidenhout Christmas Concert

One of today’s most notable and exciting fortepianists, London-based Kristian Bezuidenhout, comes to town for a special Christmas concert. Organizers promise a “time-slip into the world of Mozart.”

Perfect for: An evening with family or friends.

When: Dec. 15, 7 p.m.

Where: Oji Hall, 4-7-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥6,000

Reservations: Call 03-3567-9990. For more information see the venue’s official website (Japanese only).

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The Three Degrees: Christmas Season Special

A powerful and special Christmas program by the immensely popular, Philadelphia-based female trio The Three Degrees. The evening will include some of the group’s most famous hits like “When Will I See You Again” and “Dirty Ol’ Man.”

Perfect for: A girls’ night out!

When: Dec. 18, 6:30 and 9 p.m.; Dec. 19–20, 5 and 8 p.m.

Where: Cotton Club, 2F Tokia Tokyo Bldg., 2-7-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥8,000–¥10,000

Reservations: Call 03-3215-1555 or see the Cotton Club’s website (Japanese only).

Christmas Dinner Show at Palace Hotel Tokyo

A powerful showcase performance by the “Madonnas of Japanese classical music”: soprano Michie Nakamaru, violinist Ikuko Kawai and pianist Ikuyo Nakamichi. This special Christmas program features Bach, Chopin and Puccini classics, in addition to a special Christmas medley.

Perfect for: A night with close friends or family members.

When: Dec. 24, 6 p.m.

Where: Palace Hotel Tokyo, 1-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥38,000 (includes dinner and drinks)

Reservations: Call 03-3211-5326. For more information click here (Japanese only).

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A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas

Perhaps the highlight of the list, the legendary Count Basie Orchestra—one of the most prominent jazz groups in the music world—comes to Tokyo just in time for the holidays. Under the leadership of director Scotty Barnhart, the Count Basie Orchestra celebrates its 80th anniversary this year with a brand new Christmas album, A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas. Treat yourself to the best of the best at this excellent jazz and swing performance, held right in the very heart of Tokyo.

Perfect for: A treat for yourself and your best swingin’ friends.

When: Dec. 8–10; 7 and 9:30 p.m.; Dec. 12, 5 and 8 p.m.

Where: Blue Note Tokyo, 6-3-16 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥8,900

Reservations: Call 03-5485-0088 or online (Japanese only).

Makoto Ozone

Makoto Ozone: Christmas Jazz Night

Makoto Ozone, one of Japan’s most famous and talented jazz pianists, presents a night of Christmas jazz along with a big band, No Name Horses. Featuring Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9 (Jeunehomme), the work has been arranged for a jazz big band for the first time in Japan. A special highlight will be Joseph Alessi from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as a guest performer.

Perfect for: A classical-jazz fusion ensemble of friends.

When: Dec. 22, 7 p.m.

Where: Bunkamura Orchard Hall, 2-24-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥6,500–¥7,500

Reservations: Call 03-3477-9999. See Bunkamura’s website for more information.

Originally from Bulgaria, Alexandra (Ally) came to Japan with her family at the delicate age of 15 and has never left ever since. After attending (and surviving) a public Japanese high school, she went to an American college in Japan, and later a Japanese grad school, studying international affairs and journalism. Ally is the current managing editor of Savvy Tokyo and also a writer/translator for GPlusMedia's other channels, including Japan Today. She's made of coffee, wine, and books.

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