Best Christmas Markets Around Tokyo
Gifts, Ornaments & Holiday Fun
Santa will also be there, sipping his hot wine.
Beside Kentucky Fried Chicken, decorated cakes and romantic winter illuminations, you know it’s Christmas when you find yourself at a Europe-inspired market, sipping hot wine and searching for a piece of Stollen. While most of these markets attract Japanese crowds for the beer and the pretzels, they are also some of the few venues where you can enjoy a somewhat real sense of Christmas – as you’re used to it from back home. Here are our top five picks for this year.
Yokohama Akarenga Christmas Market
Held for the seventh time, the Yokohama Akarenga Christmas Market is one of the biggest and most popular markets of its kind in Japan, drawing tens of thousands of visitors annually. It’s a great place to visit for shopping, eating and sightseeing, as well as to experience a true festive feeling under the giant Christmas tree. There’ll be hot wine, seasonal ornaments and beautiful illuminations, plus Santa Claus will also be making an appearance on every Wednesday and Saturday. This year, the theme is White Christmas, so expect some snow and special performances every Friday.
When: Until 25 December 2016, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Yokohama Akarenga, 1-1, Shin-Minato, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa
Ebisu Garden Place Marche de Noël
As soon as you pass through the long Sky Walk from JR Ebisu station, you’ll be greeted by a giant Christmas tree, overseeing a wide array of stalls selling European-inspired crafts, food and seasonal gifts. The entire shopping complex is decorated with thousands of gorgeously shining LED lights and an impressive Baccarat chandelier, making this market one of the most romantic and festive venues for this holiday season.
When: Until 25 December 2016, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Ebisu Garden Place 4-20, Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Roppongi Hills Christmas Market
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Roppongi Hills Christmas Market is the Japanese replication of Stuttgart’s famous (and one of the world’s largest) Christmas marché and it offers over 1,000 goodies, from authentic German delicacies to snow globes, ornaments and other festive kitsch. Santa Claus and his top reindeer crew will supervise from each of the 11 stalls in line, bringing smiles to the kids and a pleasant vibe for the adults. Original anniversary goods, such as mug cups for your glühwein, will also be on sale.
When: Until 25 December 2016, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Until 10 p.m. on Fri, Sat, and Sun)
Where: Roppongi Hills O-Yane Plaza, 6-11-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tokyo Christmas Market
Perhaps the largest and the most impressive on this list, the Tokyo Christmas Market will occupy Hibiya Park for a limited period of ten days, turning the area into an almost-real fairy tale. Expect to be impressed by the market’s great array of food and drink stalls, as well as various international holiday crafts and entertaining stage performances. There will also be candle- and snow globe-making workshops and daily live stages by German, Japanese and gospel groups. But without a doubt, the most amazing feature of this event is the stunningly illuminated 14m-high Christmas pyramid imported straight from Dresden — you know, just because the holiday season is not only about Christmas trees and red boots.
When: December 16 – 25, 2016, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Hibiya Park, Hibiya Park, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Saitama Christmas Market
Though a bit away from the city center, this European-style Saitama Christmas Market is just as cozy and festive as the rest. Try various goods and cuisine from all over Europe and get creative at the market’s original Christmas ornament workshop. And while most Christmas markets in Japan are German-inspired, here you can find traditional ornaments from Austria, Russia, France and other countries that do also celebrate Christmas too, you know.
When: Until 25 December, 2016, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Weekdays) 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Weekends)
Where: Saitama Super Arena Keyaki Hiroba, 8 Shin Toshin, Chuo-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama