How the Japanese Celebrate Christmas

Always wondered how the other side live? Us too! Have a squiz at how the Japanese celebrate Christmas!

With Christmas just around the corner, we’re feeling a little festive here at Daniel San. And while Australia has a bunch of Christmas traditions of our own – hello delicious pavlova- or maybe we stole that from the kiwis, soz!, we got to thinking how others might celebrate the fat man’s arrival. Given our restaurant was inspired by Mr Miyagi and the Karate Kid, we decided to dig a little deeper into our Japanese friends and how they like to celebrate the holiday season.


We wanted to get straight to the most important discovery we made while doing some research on how the Japanese celebrate Christmas. According to Why Christmas, traditional Christmas food is cake! (heck yeah) Now it’s not the cake you think of when you think of Christmas; no puddings or fruit cake but rather sponge cake with strawberries and whipped cream. But wait for it. Did you know that the short cake emoji – this guy 🍰 is the Japanese Christmas cake!! Mind Blown! Can’t wait to get that question in a trivia battle.

A Japanese Christmas cake topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries

Kentucky Fried Chicken

We also discovered that apparently friend chicken or more specifically KFC is a popular choice when it comes to dining on Christmas Day in Japan. Can we please live there now? According to BBC, 3.6 million Japanese families que up to feast on Colonel Sanders famous chicken. Apparently you’ve got to order your buckets weeks in advanced and the line-up could be an easy few hours. We too asked how on earth this quirky tradition came to be. And much like Coca Cola’s version of Father Christmas, this fried chicken craze was born as a result of marketing genius. In 1974, KFC launched ‘Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii’, or quite simply ‘Kentucky for Christmas’ and it’s stuck ever since.

A KFC store advertising for Christmas specials

Tinsel Town

Christmas isn’t exactly a holiday in Japan, however that doesn’t stop them from embracing the festive spirit. The Tokyo Skytree Town is transformed every year with over half a million Led lights and it is considered the tallest broadcast tower in the world. It was once considered the tallest Christmas tree in the world. If that’s not Christmas, we don’t know what is!

A LED tree lined street illuminated at night

We might be closed for Christmas Day, but you can join us for some festive cheer on Christmas Eve and tuck into some of our famous KFC! (Korean Friend Chicken)