Spending big holidays like Christmas and New Year's in Japan is quite different from what foreigners are used to. Growing up in Germany, a big part of my family's Christmas tradition was to get a tree, decorate it, listening to Christmas music, talking about the Christmas story, going to church on Christmas Eve and meeting with family for a big dinner. New Year's Eve always involved lots of food and staying up until early morning. The holidays are wonderful and even here in Japan you can continue your traditions.
I live on Okinawa and the temperatures at Christmas and New Years are quite nice. We do not have snow here but Okinawa joins the world in decorating festive during this season. So if you are up to a quick holiday trip into the warm south but still don't want to miss out on your Christmas' and New Year's traditions, you might like visiting these hotels around the island!
Nikko Alivila Yomitan Resort Hotel
One of the resorts I went to recently is the Nikko Alivila Yomitan Resort Hotel. Every year the staff decorates their pool area with Christmas lights for a couple of weeks so you can experience a bit of Holiday feeling during this snowless season.
The name "Alivila" is a combination of the Spanish words "alivio" (relaxation) and "villa" (country house), which perfectly describes the experience at this hotel. Alivila itself is built in a Spanish colonial style and offers leisure in over 350 luxury hotel rooms. The hotel is right by the ocean, has two wedding chapels, restaurants, a pool, a private beach, sports facilities, offers water sports in the summer and rooms for business meetings, wedding receptions and other occasions. It's one of my favorite hotels on the island and is located right by the ocean. Japan's most populated town, Yomitan hosts this amazing hotel but still have plenty of cultural sights and quiet spots to enjoy.
The Christmas lights are arranged in blue, yellow and white this year and surround the gorgeous pool. A big Christmas tree is set up in front of the hotel and overlooks the whole decorated pool area. While I was visiting the hotel a cello player was setting the Christmas mood by playing traditional Christmas music. It was perfect.
Renaissance Okinawa Resort
About 15 minute drive up north from Alivila another Hotel displays Christmas lights: the Renaissance Okinawa Resort in Onna village. This Resort offers numerous Marine activities all around the beach in the summer, welcomes you with great Dining and Leisure in various Lounges, Spas, Restaurants, Shops and gardens. The grounds also include conference rooms, meeting areas, a wedding chapel and an own premium club for your enjoyment. I usually do not visit this hotel often since it is farther from where I live but the Renaissance Hotel never fails your expectations when you do visit.
This year their Christmas and New Year's lights are centered around the theme Red Christmas. Their garden is arrayed in red, blue and white and lid-up shapes of stars and dolphins dance over the pools in a romantic atmosphere. In the Foyer a friendly Santa greets you and invites you to take pictures in front of the gigantic Christmas tree that stretches high up under the ceiling. Renaissance Okinawa Resort displays the lights past New Year, which is really nice since the beginning of January is busy for many in Japan. The extended time of the attraction allows you to visit these hotels when you are actually free to enjoy a great night out.