Written by:
Noa

Merry Chrismas!

メリクリ!

A very Merry Christmas from the Zentern Team!
We can't believe 2023 is about to end - it really flew by but we're looking forward again to arranging amazing internships in Japan in 2024!

Did you know Japan is an amazing destination during Christmas and New Year?
We'll briefly explain it to you!

First a bit of background information on Christmas in Japan

Christmas in Japan is a bit different. As a mainly non-Christian country, the Japanese work during Christmas.
That's right, it's not a public holiday over here. However, that doesn't mean that they don't understand the "Christmas Spirit".

There are Christmas trees, beautiful illumination, Christmas Markets and more during the December month. You'll hear Christmas songs everywhere, including Japanese Christmas songs.

The only other thing that's different, apart from it being just a normal day, Christmas is aimed at couples instead of family. New Year's Eve / Day is for family. Christmas is definitely a couples' thing over here.

This means that most restaurants will only have a course menu during Christmas and most restaurants are properly likely to be fully booked.

Interesting fact: It's quite normal here to dine alone as many restaurants focus on solo-eaters. There are restaurants that don't accept "couples" during Christmas!

How about married couples with families?

Well, they eat KFC during Christmas.... We're also not too sure why but the line at KFC during Christmas is insane.

The line at a KFC in Tokyo. The line goes even further around the blog.

Other awesome things to do in the winter while you're here on a internship in Japan!

Onsen and/or winter sports

Japan has it all! From the world's best powdery snow in Hokkaido, to amazing coral reefs and a clear blue ocean in Okinawa. Along with amazing nature, Japan is also famous for their onsen.

Unfortunately the "Ryokan" that provide these amazing onsen are decreasing due to a decrease in population, there are still over 3,000 places you can choose to stay while you're here (and there are over 20,000 onsen sources in Japan!).

For all sporty people, Japan is amazing for winter sports as well. Only an hour away from Tokyo is Gala Yuzawa that can be reached by Shinkansen. It's actually a ski resort that's operated by JR (Japan Railways) and offers a combo ticket of skiing/snowboarding including your shinkansen tickets.

Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort - only an hour away from Tokyo

There are many ski resorts that include onsen as well and we can guarantee you; it's the best combination ever!

Imagine yourself coming down the slope after an active day of skiing or snowboarding (or bobsledding or winter tracking or searching for Yet.. or well you get the picture) and taking a dive into a hot, welcoming onsen. Then finishing up the day with delicious Japanese cuisine... Life can't get better!

Christmas Markets, Illumination and amazing decorations!

Big cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, Sendai, etc. have amazing Christmas decorations. Most department stores, supermarkets and even the bus you use for commuting, turn into a Christmas Wonderland with beautiful Christmas trees, lights and Christmas specials.

Tokyo has more than 10 Christmas markets where you can get hot wine, delicious food and do some ornament shopping.
Almost all cities have gorgeous illumination that's definitely worth a visit after you've eaten many pretzels at the Christmas market!

Beautiful Illumination at Ebisu Garden

Visit Temples & Shrines (in the snow)

Truly mesmerising! Especially shrines are gorgeous in the winter with their red/orange colours standing out even more in the white snow.

Temple in Wakayama during the winter

Food!

Can't forget to write about the delicious food available in the winter. Typical winter foods are oden and nabe (hot pot) and some fish such as scallop and yellow tail taste amazing during the winter season (as does hot sake!).

Oden - a Japanese winter dish

Fun fact: Strawberries are a winter fruit here!

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There are many more ways to enjoy Japan during the winter season.
Join the program and enjoy Japan in the winter!

Zentern is closed for the holidays and we will see you again in 2024!

Happy Holidays!!