This is the article about December in Japan: It’s about the basic information such as national holidays and the weather. Let’s see how Japanese spend and enjoy Christmas and New Year’s Eve and other winter activities.

What is December like in Japan? Let’s see how Japanese spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve

December in Japan is already a winter and people are busy preparing for coming end of the year and winter events. We also have Christmas and New Years Eve, don’t you want to know how we spend this time of the year?

The national holidays in December

Date Name and Remarks
23rd of December The Emperor's Birthday
The birthday of the reigning emperor. The public ceremony takes place at the Imperial Palace, where the gates of the palace are opened to public traffic.
28th ~31st of December End of the year holidays
This time of the year is not notional holidays but most of the companies and shops will take holidays.


The weather in December (weather・temperature・clothing)

Average Highest Lowest
Hokkaido(Sapporo) -0.9℃ 2.1℃ -4.1℃
Tokyo 7.6℃ 11.9℃ 3.5℃
Nagoya 7℃ 11.6℃ 3.1℃
Kyoto 7℃ 11.6℃ 3.2℃
Osaka 8.6℃ 12.3℃ 5.1℃
Hiroshima 7.5℃ 12.3℃ 3.7℃
Fukuoka 8.9℃ 12.6℃ 5.6℃
Okinawa(Naha) 18.7℃ 21.2℃ 16.3℃



December in Hokkaido and Tohoku Region the temperature drops below zero and they have a lot of snow.

The winter in Tokyo also get quite cold. The temperature drops under 10℃ and feel much colder than actual temperature because the dry air. People will dress in warm clothes and travel to the office and school with light steps.

There are not many snow in the cities like Tokyo・Osaka・Kyoto. But occasionally snow falls in the cities and you’ll see a beautifully coved in white enchanting cities.

Although, due to the heavy snow the public transportation might cause delays or other problems, so be aware and prepared if you are traveling in a snowy days!

Festivals and events in June

1) Sky & Hot Spring Package Tour

When snow starts to lies on the mountains, which means the winter sports season has come. The people who love winter sports will start to plan skiing and snowboarding.

The popular sky resort close from Tokyo area is Echigoyuzawa in Nigata prefecture and Nozawa Onsen at Nagano prefecture. In Hokkaido, Niseko sky resort is famous and popular.

Most of sky resorts are close to famous Onsen (hot spring) resorts. It is quite common and people love to go Onsen after fully enjoyed at sky slope.

Onsen at summer time is good but winter time is wonderful. Feel the chilly air at the outdoor Onsen is a sperm bliss moment.

Snow monkeys at “Jigokudani Onsen” are now very famous and for them Onsen is great during the winter and they seemed loving it lol

2) Bonenkai (Year-end-party)

In Japan, Izakaya restaurants and pubs will be full of business men in December. It is a tradition for Japanese business man to held Bonenkai sometimes in December; Bonenkai literary means “forget the past year” sometimes in December. People gather to share and shake off the hardships they experienced during the past year, and to prepare for the coming year with renewed resolve.

Unfortunately there are some people who drank too much in a spree and become legless… you might come across with drunken businessman who is asleep on the street or bench … so typical…

3) Illumination

During this time of the year, cites are full of illumination. The popular places are Tokyo Marunouchi, Ginza, Roppongi, Shinjuku.

This picture is form Kobe Luminarie. In 1995, devastated earthquake attacked Kobe and this was dedicated to the people’s hope of Kobe city’s revival. It was designed so detailed and those lights implied Kobe people’s dreams and hopes.

4) Christmas

A lot of people wonder “What is the religion for Japanese people?” well… Japanese people go to Shrine or Temple for a New Year, call Buddhist Monk for the funeral and cerebrate Christmas.

Although, Christmas is nothing to do with religious ceremony in Japan; like “celebrate the birth of Jesus” or”the day to appreciate family ties”. It’s about spending a romantic moment with your lovers…, I’m sorry, no offence though….

Here is the date schedule on a Christmas night; a boyfriend makes a reservation at a romantic restaurant and they enjoy the dinner with girlfriend. After the dinner they exchange presents … this is the typical Christmas night for a Japanese couples.

From the point of view as a tourist, it’s great as no place will be closed because of the Christmas day. Christmas is not a national holiday for Japanese people.

5) End of the year holidays

After 28th of December most schools and companies will be on winter brakes. Some will go home to see their families and some will go traveling to abroad.

30th of December is the deep cleaning day! All member of the family cooperate and clear up all the dust. It’s a tradition for Japanese people not to carry over any dust for a New Year. It may become as a tradition because we are tidy people.

End of the year is especially busy for mothers by preparing “Osechi”. Osechi is the New Year festive dish. It’s beautiful but need a lot of preparation.

There’s also an interesting tradition from Edo period to eat soba noodles at New Year’s Eve. It’s said that if you eat soba at the end of the year, you will live longer. So, a lot of people still carry on this tradition.

Around the midnight, a lot of people will start to go out to the temples and shrines to pray for the New Year.

Please check it out this article about more details.

Most Buddhist temples start ringing their bells 108 times which symbolize the casting away of 108 earthly desires”Bonnou” which are believed to cause human suffering.

People listen to bell sounds solemnly and look back bygone year.

I hope you got some useful information about December. The end of the year festivals and traditions are different depends on the country. So, it might surprise you. But if you’re planning to visit Japan in December, why don’t you join us and cerebrate the moment together! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

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