1. Hotel Chapel Christmas: Narita (Chiba)
‘Tis the season, all year round
Since Hotel Chapel Christmas in Osaka closed a couple of years back, the ultimate festive season crown has been worn by Hotel Chapel Christmas near Narita Airport. If you’re arriving in Japan for the first time — or leaving for that matter — you’re unlikely to find a weirder place when it comes to hotels near the airport than this one, especially if you’re visiting in August. Like performing “Last Christmas” by Wham! at karaoke in March, staying at Hotel Chapel Christmas is enough to put a begrudging smile on anyone’s face. Saunter in past Santa and down the stairs with baubles, into your room of festive fun. You’ll find at least one mini tree in there.
2. Hotel Chronos: Kyoto
Putting the Christ in Christmas
From an Arabian room with a giant camel statue to an American space featuring a Cadillac, Hotel Chronos, run by the imitable hotel group, Best Delight, is a hotel that is themed to the max. Depending on the room, you may get to try a water slide or even practice your golf skills. The room we’ve picked out as its most festive is the Jesus one. Decked out in Christmassy colors, with a bathtub of holly berry-red, you can snuggle up and feel the season underneath Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” while enjoying a special Christmas plan.
3. Sara Grande: Gotanda (Tokyo)
Love Ho, ho, ho
The Sara Grande in Gotanda has it all. For couples who are up for a bit of roleplay, you can do worse than find a room at this inn. No matter your kink, Sara Grande probably has it, including a fake gym, complete with weights, called The Fitness. There’s also The School roleplay room, featuring classroom desks. And of course, Christmas is no exception. The My Lover is Santa Claus room will have you jingling bells into the new year, as you have a merry rest on the red bed, while admiring the jolly Santa scene on the wall.
4. Hotel Christmas: Numazu (Shizuoka)
Putting the cheery in cheap and cheerful
Shizuoka is known for its retro hotels, ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) and hot springs. A hop, skip and jump away from Japan’s capital, this picturesque prefecture, that is located between the mountains and the sea, makes for a nice and easy trip from Tokyo. While there, you can also stay at the cheap and cheerfully named Hotel Christmas, which serves festive cheer all year round. The jolly Santa outside the hotel welcomes naughty elves into one of its many rooms, although if you’re set on a Christmas theme, you may have to bring your own props.
5. Hotel Brugge: Kashiwa (Chiba)
For a classical Christmas
Many core seasonal customs come from Europe. Santa Claus or Father Christmas, whatever you choose to call him, is usually said to come from Europe. As Saint Nicholas in the 4th century, he was active in Turkey, and his many interactions since then have been gleaned from European countries, such as Sinterklaas in the Netherlands and Father Christmas in England.
Christmas Markets, or seasonal markets, meanwhile, are associated strongly with Germany. Indeed, Tokyo has its own German Market come December, taken without question to mean “festive.” So what better way to access yuletide than taking a trip back to Renaissance Europe at Hotel Brugge? Marvel at the marble and enjoy the Gothic furniture while getting into the Christmas spirit.
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