Christmas 2018 in Osaka, Japan

We told you how weird a Japanese Christmas can be this time last year. Let’s do it again! Some stuff says the same, but 2018’s had a few winter surprises waiting for us.

Christmas food, the non-traditional tradition

Yeah, there’s a lot of chicken (looking at you, KFC) as usual. And pizza, this time. Even the conbinis are trying to make ‘Christmas pizza’ a thing.

Christmas doughnuts kept us entertained again, in several ways. Krispy Kreme introduced a ‘present box’, filled with milk tea-flavoured cream. Mister Donut made one called ‘yellow snow’. We haven’t eaten that.

We also saw a local supermarket selling ‘Millennial Pink’ Christmas cake. Everywhere we looked for a cake this year, the designs were less ‘Santa boot’ and way more normal-looking.

So normal, we ordered a gingerbread house instead.

It didn’t come as a ready-made house – we had to build it, sticking the bits together with icing pens. Well, at least we tried.

We learned something making this house. Putting too much water in your icing sugar means it won’t dry. For ages. We spent more time waiting on that than we did eating the cookies.

Winter illuminations in Osaka…

For the 2018 Christmas illumination season, we’ve visited these light-up events across the city:

  • Midosuji illuminations
  • Semba Centre Building decorations
  • Nakanoshima light festival
  • German Christmas Market in Umeda
  • Osaka station Twilight Fantasy display
  • Grand Front Osaka’s Christmas lights

Nope, didn’t make it over to Luminarie this time (sorry, Kobe, maybe in 2019). This much stuff was more than enough.

Thinking how many times we’ve heard ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ playing over colourful flashing lights since Dec 1st makes us feel kinda ill.

There were 2 big themes that we could spot around Osaka this year: trees, and gold.

If covering every real-world tree in sight with LEDs wasn’t enough, the Lucua building (in the middle of our pic) had a giant Christmas tree light display down one side.

And talking of those real trees, the ones surrounding Grand Front Osaka were all decorated and lit up in ‘champagne gold’. We’ve gazed at a lot of yellow-y golden lights this month.

…but don’t expect any snow

How are we meant to get into the Christmas spirit when it’s summer BBQ weather outside? Put another turkey leg on the grill, Rudolph.

On December 4th, 2018, it hit 23 degrees Celsius in Osaka. And then it rained like warm, humid hell. And now it’s mild, like early spring. The nights are kinda cold, but at this rate Christmas Day’ll easily hit double digits.

Snow in Japan can be rare, unless you live in, say, Hokkaido. The November 2016 snowfall in Yokahama was the first in that month for about 45 years.

That doesn’t stop anyone getting in the ‘white Christmas’ spirit. We’ve seen snow-themed winter lattes and everything. Starbucks has a new caramel macchiato conbini drink launching on Christmas Day.

Japan x Christmas = deco mania

Nitori, Japan’s IKEA, wants us to do Christmas right – in any (every) colour scheme. That includes the tree, and everything you throw on it. Nitori’s decorations make all those lit-up trees look like they weren’t trying.

In the mood for a pink glitter star on top of your tree? They’ve got it. Need rainbow reindeer in your life? Consider it done. Smiling felt llama? We’ve said more than enough.

There’s no Christmas tree in the DEJAPAN office this year. But that’s because we have 3 giant new houseplants instead. Wait and see if we sneakily cover them in tinsel and put it on Instagram.

Limited-edition gifts from Santa

When we heard about the special red and gold edition of the NeoGeo mini game machine, we thought Christmas in Japan finally jumped the shark. It does claim new games, at least…

And it’s far from the only thing you can only get this time of year. Christmas makeup and beauty coffrets, Lululun face mask packs, Seiko winter watch designs, Christmas jewellery, and festive Disney plushies.

Have you been naughty or nice this year? If you’re ordering from Japan for yourself, we guess it doesn’t matter. You won’t find many J-websites stocking lumps of coal.

Merry Christmas from the DEJAPAN team!

It’s been a fun, crazy, weird, delicious, interesting year. We’re ready to do it all over again in 2019.

Happy holidays, and thanks for shopping with us over the last 12 months. Come to DEJAPAN any time, to buy from Japanese websites and bid on Yahoo! Auctions Japan.

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