Things to do in Tokyo Over the Holiday Season

ByJason Gatewood
Nov 28, 2019

Things to do in Tokyo Over the Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again… You’ve set the toilet seat warmer on 10 to keep Jack Frost from nipping at your nether parts, the local Starbucks is blasting “Last Christmas” by George Michael for the 53,347th time, and every fast-food chain and convenience store is touting its selection of fried chicken and Christmas cakes. Yes, we’ve officially hit the holidays in Tokyo! So what’s out there to do?

Shopping

Recently, European style pop-up Christmas markets have become a thing around Greater Tokyo. Here you can enjoy shopping for last-minute curios and handmade trinkets while sipping on mulled wine and snacking on ginger cake. It’s definitely a good way to greet the season!

  • Roppongi Hills – Get your fix for ginger snaps and mulled wine while hanging out in this spawling entertainment complex. Plus there are plenty of regular shops and restaurants awaiting your patronage should you run out of Christmas cheer. Runs from November 11 ~ December 25th, 11 am ~10 pm.  Web   Map

  • Hibiya Park –  If you’re searching for the most German-inspired marketplace in the Metropolis, this is it! Hibiya Park will transform into a very Deutschland Christmas for 10 days meaning you can find grüw wine, sausages, beer and of course SWEETS! Plenty of curios, decorations and more to plunk your yen down on as well. December 6th~25th, 11  am~10pm.  Web   Map

  • Ebisu Garden Place – We talked about heading over here for the illuminations here before, but you’d also be wise to swing by for their Christmas Marché winter market as well. Plenty of stöllen in your cup and gift ideas for everyone on your list. November 2nd~25th, 12 pm~8pm. 10-minute walk from Ebisu station. Web   Map
  • Yokohama Akarenga – Not to be outdone, the Red Brick Warehouse complex in Yokohama’s Minato Mirai district becomes the very epitome of what Christmas looks like in most people’s minds. From ornaments and lights to candies and hot wine (and sake), you’ll be walking in a winter wonderland around here. About a 10-minute walk from Minato-Mirai, Sakuragi-cho, or Bashamichi stations. Runs from November 25 ~ December 25th, 11am~10pm. Web   Map

Food

Unless you fancy the above mentioned fried chicken and Christmas cake that had become synonymous with “Xmas Japan Style”, you’ll want to check out our pics for places to enjoy more a more traditional menu for the season. Or perhaps you’re up to throwing together your own Christmas dinner together, you’ll need to check out a quick list of grocery stores to get those hard-to-find items from back home (I’m looking at you, cranberry sauce!)

Getting out

While you might not exactly be “walking in a winter wonderland” around Tokyo during the holiday season, there are still plenty of Holiday-themed activities to get into:

  • Ice Skating – Lace those blades up and get ready for some icy hi-jinks and sore muscles! There are plenty of places to skate in the Metropolis, but here are some temporary rinks set up just for the season that are easy to get to:
    • Futako Tamagawa Rise –  Located in the shopping and office complex that’s home to Rakuten along the banks of the Tama River a stone’s throw away from Shibuya on Tokyu’s Den-en-toshi and Oimachi train lines. Runs generally from December 14~March 1, every day 10 am ~7 pm (8 pm if crowds are light.) ¥1700 adults, ¥1500 teens,  ¥1200 kids. Web   Map
    • Tokyo Midtown Roppongi – Usually set up right in the plaza immediately behind the complex. Due to the same area’s use for the massive holiday illumination (also a must-see), this rink gets started a little later in the season; January 6~March 6, every day 11 am~10 pm. ¥1500 adults, ¥1000 junior high school-aged and below.  Web  Map
    • Art Rink Akarenga Yokohama – That’s right, in the same place as the above Christmas market section. It’s pretty much the perfect setting for all things Xmas related if you’re up for the journey to this part of Japan’s Bay City. It’s called “Art Rink” thanks to the collaboration with Yokohama Hayato junior and senior high students’ art exhibition happening around the rink as well. November 30 ~ February 16, Opens 1 pm weekdays, 11 am weekends; closes 10 pm every day. ¥500 adults, ¥400 schoolchildren, ¥300 toddlers; skate rental extra. Web   Map
  • Illuminations

 


Image: “Roppongi Hills Christmas Walk” – Jason L Gatewood

About the author

Jason Gatewood editor

Our Tokyo based collaborator is a tech nerd, Japanophile, train nut, and a veritable fountain of information on Japan. His current goal is to watch Evangelion and actually "get it", sing every permutation of "Hotel California" at any karaoke gathering, ride every bullet train line, and sample all varieties of ramen throughout Japan. Catch more of his musings at · http://jlgatewood.com