Tokyo has a variety of holiday-themed options, from spectacular illuminations to Bavarian Christmas markets. One of my favorites takes place throughout the month of December in the fourth floor courtyard at Solamachi Skytree Center (Access: Hanzomon or Asakusa line to Oshiage Station, and exit to Skytree Center).
I’m spending the next few weeks in Tokyo, hoping my ankle heals from the recent sprain-or-tendonitis that struck shortly before my 100-km trek along the Kumano Kodo (more on that in the weeks to come) – but it’s a good time to heal. You see, although most Japanese people practice Shintō, Buddhism, or both, Japan loves any excuse for a party – especially one with lights and presents – and each December, Christmas–and Santa Claus–come to town.
It isn’t the largest, or the most elaborate, of Tokyo’s Christmas markets, but the enormous Christmas tree–made entirely of fresh, live flowers–is breathtaking every year.
The Bavarian village-style huts hold food and beverage vendors selling an assortment of delicious holiday treats – think “German, occasionally interpreted through a Japanese lens.” The gluhwein (mulled wine) is supposed to be delicious, and my son is a fan of the German würst – with several varieties available, the sampler platters are the way to go.
Personally, I like the curry wurst with fries – but then, I’m a sucker for Japanese curry in almost any form. (I like to pair it with a churro for the cultural-confusion hat trick.)
The market runs through Christmas day, and it’s open nightly until 9pm, apparently even in the rain (or snow), though since it’s outdoors I personally prefer to go when the weather’s nice. Between the lights, the food, and the carols, it’s a great way to get a shot of Christmas–or holiday, depending what you celebrate–cheer.