With J-pop jingles jingling and Christmas specials beckoning, the holiday season is upon us. Whether you are looking for elaborate illuminations, Christmas markets, or festive bites, Weekender has you covered. Take a peek at the events below and join in Tokyo’s festive cheer!
Tokyo Christmas Market
Deck the halls with a trip to Tokyo’s annual Christmas Market. Hibiya Park will be transformed into a German-esque market and town. You will find rows of little German “huts” serving warm drinks, hot food, and selling home- and handmade goods. Go after sunset to witness the park covered in tens of thousands of lights. Last year, a luminescent 14-meter “Christmas Pyramid” was imported from Dresden. We can only imagine what this year’s market will boast!
When: December 15-25
How much: Free
More info: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/tokyo-christmas-market/
Christmas Market at Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
Nothing captures the essence of Christmas quite like a festive market. Following tradition, Yokohama’s famed waterfront Red Brick Warehouse will be adorned with lights, touches of red, and a giant evergreen. The event is inspired by Cologne’s Christmas Market, and features charming wooden stalls selling all kinds of Christmas goodies. Live performances, ice skating, and a few classes on woodwork will also be taking place, while the regular cafés and restaurants will have ongoing specials.
When: Until December 25
How much: Free entry
More info: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/christmas-market-yokohama-red-brick-warehouse
If there’s one thing that Tokyo does right, it’s transforming the city into Bedazzle Town once the holiday season begins. Whether you’re taking them in with your partner, your families, or with a group of friends, we promise that these light shows will warm you right up and light up a smile. So bundle up, fill your thermos with hot cocoa and check out the most majestic illuminations of Winter 2017.
Christmas would not be complete without a spectacle. This year, the National Ballet of Japan is performing the well-loved Cinderella. Set to Sergei Prokofiev’s exciting musical score and choreographed by Sir Fredric Ashton, the classic story follows the downtrodden Cinderella as a magic spell transforms her life, but only until the clock strikes 12.
When: December 16-24
How Much: ¥3,240-¥12,960
More info: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/cinderella/
Broadway Christmas Wonderland
Broadway Christmas Wonderland is filled with everything festive about the holidays, including music performed by talented singers, delightful dancing, magnificent scenery, exquisite costumes, figure skating, and the catchiest of chorus lines. This spectacular production is festive fun for all the family and the ultimate way to be merry.
When: December 15-25
How much: ¥5,800-¥9,800
More info: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/broadway-christmas-wonderland/
Cold weather means it is time to skate! Akasaka Sacas, Meiji Jingu Gaien Rink, and Art Rink at Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse are home to our favorite ice rinks. Taking a spin on the rink and treating yourself to a hot drink afterwards makes for the perfect festive outing.
How Much: Prices vary from ¥500-¥1,340 (not including skate rentals, typically priced at ¥500)
Rooftop Terrace Christmas Kamakura Igloo
Inspired by the traditions of Northern Japan, Andaz Tokyo’s intimate igloos are the perfect place for snuggling up and enjoying a view of Tokyo Tower. The hotel’s executive sous chef and pastry chef have come together to create a unique menu focusing on luxury ingredients paired with the finest wines and champagnes in a five-course degustation menu, including Brittany Blue Lobster and Akita Nishiki Beef. The igloo can seat up to four people making it a romantic setting for a couple to share their holiday dinner or a unique and unforgettable experience for a small group of friends.
When: December 21-24
How much: ¥80,000 per person
More info: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/christmas-kamakura-igloo-dinner-andaz-tokyos-rooftop-terrace/
Ritz-Carlton Holiday Afternoon Tea
Indulge in a delicious and festive afternoon treat at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel’s stunning 45th floor Lobby Lounge. The special Holiday Afternoon Tea includes a selection of sweet and savory food served with fine tea to match the seasonal mood. Surround yourself in the elegance of the Lobby Lounge whilst enjoying an excellent view of the hotel’s Christmas tree, designed by Italian luxury fashion house Dolce & Gabbana, or look out the windows for spectacular panoramic views of the city!
When: Until January 3
How much: From ¥5,000
More info: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/ritz-carlton-holiday-afternoon-tea/
Andaz Tavern European Christmas Dinner
Christmas brings families together to feast around a well-laden table of traditional dishes. This year, Andaz Tavern presents its own take on a European Christmas as the chef takes guests on a journey through Europe with each traditional dish presented with creative flair. The menu features seafood dishes popular in Italy, foie gras and Bûche de Noël from France, and red cabbage, often served as a side dish in Germany. The Andaz Tavern team has created a dessert in the form of a “mini Christmas tree” – pistachio mousse, molded into a perfect miniature Christmas tree, accompanied with a strawberry coulis and mixed berries compote.
When: December 20-25
How much: ¥18,000-¥33,000
More info: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/andaz-tavern-european-christmas-dinner/
Red Christmas Party 4 at Tokyo Salon
Not your average black tie holiday party! For the fourth year in a row, Bonjour Tokyo is hosting an English-Japanese-French gathering for the holidays. Be sure to dress in red! Head to Tokyo Salon for this holiday extravaganza, where belly dancers, DJs, open dance floors, seasonal cocktails, and more await.
When: December 16
How much: ¥1,000
More info: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/red-christmas-party-4-tokyo-salon/
Ritz-Carlton Countdown Party 2018
Looking for something sophisticated and luxurious to do this New Year’s Eve? The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo will hold its annual Countdown Party in the Lobby Lounge & Bar on the hotel’s 45th floor. Dress to impress and enjoy free-flowing NV Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut or Krug Champagne and canapés as you gaze out over some of the most spectacular views of the city. Fun lucky draws will also add to the party atmosphere – whether you prefer to relax in a sumptuous arm chair or mingle with the other guests is up to you.
When: December 31
How much: ¥29,000-¥40,000
More info: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/ritz-carlton-countdown-party-2018/
“We Love 80s Disco” Night at Grand Hyatt Tokyo
Can’t wait to ring in the New Year? Looking to bust some moves? Start the party early with “We Love 80s Disco” Night at Grand Hyatt Tokyo. The newly renovated Grand Ballroom will be converted into a lively nightclub, complete with glittering mirror balls and 80s-themed décor, inviting guests to dance the night away. Renowned DJ Osshy, a pioneer of the 80s disco movement, will spin a lineup of top 80s hits, while guests will enjoy free-flowing sparkling wine, beer and cocktails throughout the evening as well as a buffet of snacks from 8pm to 10pm.
When: December 27–28
How Much: ¥13,000
More info: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/love-80s-disco-night-grand-hyatt-tokyo/
2018 Countdown Lounge Event at Peak Lounge & Bar
New Year’s is always an unforgettable party. Welcome 2018 at Park Hyatt Tokyo’s Peak Lounge & Bar with panoramic views and music by Dimitri and DJ SARASA. Guests will experience an unforgettable night with iconic musical performances and free flowing champagne, cocktails, and delicious light canapés.
When: December 31
How Much: ¥20,000
More info: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/2018-countdown-lounge-event-peak-lounge-bar/
Vision New Year’s Eve Party Count Down to 2018
Round off the end of the year at the heart of the Shibuya club scene! Sound Museum Vision’s New Year’s Eve Party Countdown to 2018 sees the return of French electro disco mastermind BREAKBOT to Japan to take the headliner slot. Other performers will include Irfane, Tofubeats, Monkey Timers, Yosa, and Taar to keep the party going all the way into the new year!
When: December 31
How much: ¥2,000-¥4,000
More info: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/vision-new-years-eve-party-count-2018/
Traditional Japanese New Year
On New Year’s Eve, the Japanese tradition of Joya no Kane (New Year’s Eve bell) dictates that the large bells inside Buddhist temples are struck 108 times. The number 108 represents the number of bonnou (earthly desires of man) that bring suffering. The ringing of the bells gets rid of evil spirits, allowing you to welcome the new year with a clean spirit. As this is a religious ceremony, only a handful of temples permit visitors to ring the bell. Head to Hōmyō-ji Temple in Ikebukuro or Zōjōji-Temple in Shibakōen to ward off the evil spirits!
When: December 31, from 8pm
How Much: Free
More info: www.tokyoweekender.com/events/traditional-japanese-new-year-zojoji-temple