japanese christmas foods

What are the most popular Japanese Christmas Foods?

Christmas is approaching, and everybody is preparing their holiday feast to be served during the holiday season. What exactly is Christmas? It is a holiday memorializing the birth of Jesus Christ, whom Christians regard as God’s son. The name is a mixture of the words “Christ” and “mass,” and it refers to the holy mass of Christ. Christmas has a different meaning in Japan, and it is a time for friends as well as couples to host events, schedule dinner dates, and enjoy themselves as much as possible. They make and serve their version of Japanese Christmas fare.

In Japan, there is also traditional Christmas food that shouldn’t be overlooked at the dinner table. And I will help you understand it.

What are the traditional Japanese Christmas foods?

What are the traditional Japanese Christmas foods?
What are the traditional Japanese Christmas foods?

The majority of traditional Japanese Christmas Foods delivered in Japan are Western-style dishes like the ones listed below:

Chicken KFC

When it comes to Xmas in Japan, chicken is a must-have. During the Christmas season, roast chicken but also fried chicken will begin to be available on the market. “Christmas Kentucky Fried Chicken.” As a result of the advertisement, it spread to Japan. Many Japanese people eat KFC chicken at Christmas, but Kentucky is more like a snack.

Cake for Christmas

A Christmas decoration cake with vibrant red fruits over pristine white cream is a must-have when it comes to what to eat at Christmas. These days, Santa Claus candies and cocoa cottages and plates are commonly found on top of cakes. This, too, is a Japanese-only feature. In 1922, Fujiya invented and marketed the tradition of eating Xmas cakes. It quickly turned into a Christmas tradition. White cream but also powdered sugar evoke images of winter snow, while vivid red strawberries evoke candlelight and are perfect for Christmas.


Pizza is not associated with Christmas, but it is popular party food. It’s simple to prepare and popular at parties. Even if you don’t make it at home, you can simply obtain and purchase it, allowing for a large number of people to eat it at Christmas parties. Xmas is the busiest season for pizzerias.

Dishes with Beef

Many homes cook with higher-quality ingredients during the holiday season. Meat dishes such as roast beef but also steak may be served as a main course at hotel meals. Roast beef is a staple of British cuisine. This was frequently prepared for special occasions such as birthdays. Furthermore, steak originated in Europe.


When it comes to Japanese Christmas Foods, it seems that colorful salads are a must-have. Plenty of them are presented in the shape of a wreath, as if for Xmas, or a tree, as in potato salad. This tradition dates back a long time. The salad was first served as a single dish on December 24, 1949, at a Christmas Eve commemoration at the Imperial Hotel, which had been commandeered as a luxury officer’s dormitory for GHQ.


Finally, their Japanese reach for their Xmas feast will not be overlooked. Sushi is not related to Christmas, but some people include it on their party menus. Some people appear to order sushi around Christmas because they desire a more sumptuous lunch than usual. Some people even make Christmas sushi at home, with special Christmas specifications as well as toppings made from various products.

Japanese Christmas Traditions

Japanese Christmas Traditions
Japanese Christmas Traditions

Christmas in Japan is unusual, as are many other aspects of the country. Carols blare from the speakers as shops stock the halls with holly, ornaments, and everything else. On the 24th, there are festivities, but the focus is on romantic dinners for lovers at KFC. It’s also one of love motels’ busiest nights of the year. Here’s a look at how Christmas was celebrated in Japan.

Prior to Meiji Restoration

St. Francis Xavier showed up in Kagoshima as Japan’s first Jesuit missionary. Despite significant success in transforming Japanese people to Christianity, the Buddhist and Shinto religions emerged victorious, and Christians now make up less than 1% of the population. The first Christmas celebrations in Japan are believed to have occurred within a few years of St. Francis Xavier’s arrival. Tokugawa Hidetada, the shogun who had grown more extremely skeptical of the Christian faith, outlawed it, and its adherents were severely punished. Christmas, with the exception of hidden Christian celebrations—kakuro Kirishitan—had faded away.

Meiji and Taisho periods

Many important changes occurred in society during the Meiji Restoration (from 1868 on till), when Japan finally opened its doors to the rest of the world. One of these was the restoration of religious liberty, which intended that Christianity and Christmas customs could once again be considered acceptable.

Showa (postwar) – contemporary

Christmas grew in popularity as a result of American influence in the trying to rebuild years following WWII, albeit as a secular, commercial event. The Japanese version of a traditional Christmas cake first appeared and quickly became a staple of Christmas time, which can still be seen today. On Christmas Eve, both families and couples usually enjoy a shaped chocolate cake with red and white frosting.

The History of Japanese Holiday Foods

The History of Japanese Holiday Food
The History of Japanese Holiday Food

Cake for Christmas

The Japanese popped up to be attempting to make Christmas “special” by serving unusual foods. A traditional Christmas cake is the Bush de Noel. He used a great big log for the fireplace for the 12 days of Christmas, and if there was any unburned firewood determined the fortune of the very next year. Bush de Noel is the person who acts like a log. By the way, in 1910, Fujiya introduced the first Christmas cake in Japan, which was a décor cake.

“Christmas in Kentucky!”

KFC became the traditional Christmas dinner. According to documents, a group of European visitors went in search of turkey for their Christmas dinner but were unsuccessful, so they decided to settle for fried chicken. When KFC’s marketing team discovered this, they decided to promote their meal as a Christmas feast by using the phrase “Kentucky for Christmas!” As a result, the entire nation adopted a new Christmas ritual, which is still practiced by locals today. People plan their fancier-than-usual thumb dinners months in advance, pairing them with wine or prosecco, of course, a slice of that Christmas pudding.

Why do Japanese people eat chicken at Christmas?

Isn’t it true that chicken is one of the Japanese Christmas Foods? Chicken is a must-have dish whether you’re entertaining at home or out. But why should you eat chicken during the holidays? Many people eat it simply because it is that kind of food. Christmas Day, December 25th, is Jesus Christ’s birthday. It is customary in America and throughout Europe, where the Christian faith is pervasive, to make preparations for a special feast to celebrate or thank Jesus Christ for his birth. For such occasions, roasted turkey has long been a go-to dish. Even on special occasions like Christmas, a roast turkey will be served.

During medieval European celebrations, pigs and sheep were consumed. When such Europeans came to the United States to nurture the land, they did eat turkey instead of pigs and cows because they couldn’t easily produce livestock like they could on the continent. Similarly, because turkeys were more closely related to livestock than pigs as well as other animals at the time, roasting a whole turkey could satisfy the tummies of many people. Roasted turkey has become the norm for gatherings since then, and eating turkey at Christmas has evolved into a tradition.

What are the most popular Japanese Christmas Foods?

According to a 2018 study, the most famous Christmas meal in Japan, according to the majority of people, or about 58.2 percent, is chicken dishes. ‘Christmas cakes’ were the second-most popular food, with approximately 55.5 percent of respondents.

What is the best way to commemorate Christmas in Japan?

What is the best way to commemorate Christmas in Japan?
What is the best way to commemorate Christmas in Japan?

Consume Strawberry Shortcake

Japanese Christmas Foods: Japanese strawberry chocolate cake with whipped cream filling as well as icing is significantly less sweet than other cake toppers.

Go to a Christmas Market

From Hokkaido to Kyushu, Japan hosts European-style Christmas markets throughout the winter season.

Consume Chicken

Kentucky Fried Chicken has been a Christmas tradition in Japan since 1970s, thanks to its famous tagline and marketing efforts.

Visit a store.

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without some holiday shopping, as well as Christmas decorations are common in Japanese shopping malls.

Gift Exchange

It has become customary for couples to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, but it’s uncommon for anyone else. Because Christmas isn’t a Japanese tradition, exchanging holiday gifts is also not customary.

Take in the Christmas Lights

Illuminations are a popular way for Japanese people to mark the anniversary the winter season. Winter illumination displays can be found at major malls like Tokyo Midtown, public parks like Inokashira, and well-known landmarks like Tokyo Station.

The bottom line

Tradition is an action handed down over time in a group of people or a community. Even in a modern nation like Japan, as in any other, tradition is a vital component of life. People always do something as a custom, whether it’s going to celebrate or eat food. Food and celebrations are significant in Japan because they are a part of their culture that is essential to all Japanese. There are various vital cuisines and holidays in Japan, including Christmas Day. Despite the fact that Japanese Christmas foods are comparable to western-style foods, it has their own distinct flavor.