Celebrating a Nerdy Christmas in Japan
Christmas is not a holiday that is celebrated in Japan traditionally but nevertheless, there are a lot of Christmas events and Christmas items you can find and enjoy. I would like to focus on what Christmas in Japan has to offer for nerds and otakus.
Limited Christmas Merchandise
Most Japanese franchises come up with Christmas editions of their merchandise every year. You can get Pikachus, Hello Kitties, Chocobos and many other famous characters in Santa and angel outfits. Usually, these collections go on sale in November and popular items tend to sell out fast so you might not want to wait too long with your purchase.
You can also find special Christmas versions of merchandise in arcades and game centers in November and December. In convenience stores, you can find special Christmas editions of the popular Ichiban Lottery collections.
Christmas Menus and Events
For the permanent theme cafés in Japan, Christmas time means special Christmas menus that are decorated with little Santa Hats and reindeers. Even though they might not taste very Christmassy, they are definitely Instagramable.
Also, most franchise stores will hold Christmas time events. At stores like the Pokémon Centers or the Rilakkuma Store that have events where mascots are visiting the store regularly, during Christmas time you can look forward to meeting a Christmas version of your favorite character. As these events are quite popular, I would recommend arriving about 20 minutes earlier if you want to get a spot for good photos.
Nerdy Christmas Decorations
During the Christmas season in Japan, you can enjoy Christmas decorations in many shops and department stores. Stores like the Pokémon Centre will also decorate their interior with a seasonal taste.
Another famous place to enjoy amazing Christmas decorations is the headquarters of the Japanese Newspaper Yomiuri Shinbun. They have a Pokémon-themed Christmas tree there every year.
Japan is also a great place to look for Christmas decorations for your home. Last year I found this Star Wars Christmas tree at the interior store Francfranc. It came with Christmas lights that play the Star Wars title crawl melody and the Imperial march.
These licensed products tend to be a little on the expensive side though. If you are on a budget, a trip to the 100 Yen store can help you find some nice items like Santa Hats to upgrade things that you already have and make them look more Christmasy.
Nerdy Advent Calendars
Advent calendars are not common in Japan, but they are gaining more and more popularity. Years ago you could only find imported advent calendars, but nowadays Japanese franchises come up with their own versions. Last year the Pokémon Centers were selling an advent calendar for the first time and it sold out immediately. A new version will be available this year. The Disney Stores also have been selling advent calendars for the past few years.
I wish everyone, including nerds, otakus, and hikikomoris, a Merry Christmas and a good start into the new year.