Christmas in Tokyo

January 22, 2018Japan, John Standard

We went in for some good old KFC. KFC means Christmas in Japan. For decades Japanese have been celebrating Christmas with a barrel of fried chicken. Some lights and a small Christmas tree we picked up in Akihabara set the holiday mood in our Kawasaki apartment. It wasn’t quite the same as home but it was pretty good for a traveling Christmas. Outside our apartment was a beautiful bamboo forest. The Greater Tokyo area seems to be full of them so it was no surprise to find it completely empty whenever we visited.

Just before Christmas we stayed in a capsule hotel (photo in previous blog). This was a highlight of our Japan trip, at least for me. Felt like one night on a space ship…Guests were assigned matching pyjamas upon checking in and walked around in bare feet. Complete with manga reading room and free capsule toys, this won’t be something we’ll forget.

We spent New Years in Yokohama, which is a 30-minute train ride south of Tokyo. We stayed in a one-bedroom apartment above a metal workshop run by a charming and shy Japanese man. He took us to Chinatown in downtown Yokohama followed by a Sushi restaurant with an automated order and sushi delivery system. The nicest Airbnb yet, the loft included separate rooms with views in different directions, a fancy stereo system and a roof deck with 360 degree views of the neighborhood. The host decorated and renovated the apartment himself with a “surf” theme. We were sad to leave this place, especially as our next Airbnb, also in Yokohama, is more Tokyo-sized.

We discovered that Japan comes to a grinding halt the first week of January for New Years. Many restaurants are closed and the kids are out of school. A much-deserved break I’m sure. Our second Yokohama Airbnb, out of the way in a northern suburb, seemed like a ghost town. We have four more days in the area before heading to the forests of Saitama Prefecture.

Lineup for KFC Christmas dinner pick-up in Kawasaki.


Our KFC Christmas barrel!


Setup for Christmas dinner.


Decorated for Christmas in Kawasaki.


Futon bedroom.


Kawasaki neighbourhood (southwest of Tokyo).


Our Kawasaki apartment building.


Quiet bamboo forest behind our Kawasaki apartment.


View from a Kawasaki hilltop on one of many morning walks.


Walking through Akihabara, Tokyo.


Arcade machine in an alley (Akihabara, Tokyo).


Cat sculpture in a bookstore! Downtown in Ginza, Tokyo.


Sarah checking out the fruit. So many oranges everywhere.


Tokyo Imperial Palace.


Harajuku is known for its crepes.


Tokyo Ginza neighbourhood.


Conveyor built sushi in Shinjuku, Tokyo. About $1-2 per plate.


Packages left in public, very safe!


View from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.


Fancy melons for sale, some are a couple hundred dollars each.


Stairway in the Tokyu Hands department store has a calorie counter on it……..


Akihabara neighbourhood, our favorite Tokyo neighbourhood. We spent a lot of time there.


VW bus driving Tokyo.


Harmonica Alley in Tokyo’s Kichijoji neighborhood. Lots of small pubs and eateries.


Kichijoji restaurant, with great skewers and beer.


Harajuku alley with neat little shops.


Harajuku entertainers. Harajuku is known for youth fashion.


Yokohama, with our extremely hospitable Airbnb host.


Downtown Yokohama by the piers.


Lineup to take photos with this painting…….


Yokohama Chinatown.


View from our Yokohama apartment rooftop.


This is our Yokohama apartment, one of the nicest places we have stayed yet on our budget!


Sarah in our Yokohama apartment.


Downtown Yokohama.


Our second Yokohama apartment, in a quiet residential neighborhood. Mt. Fuji is visible on the horizon.


Public playground near our Yokohama apartment, it was hard to break Sarah away.



Gosh, I just enjoy your photos so much! In general, the cities appear so clean; there seems to be very little litter or trash anywhere. Is that true, or just your clever eye? Other than one picture, there seems to be little smog as well. It’s so interesting to see your “take” on things. I loved that photo of Mt. Fuji in the background…where will you be off to next? Lots of love, Mimi


    Thanks so much Mimi! Yes Japan seems to be a very clean country in general, especially the Kansai region. Tokyo feels a bit more like the west though. Next we are off to Fukuoka in southern Japan and then South Korea.
    Bye for now,
    John and Sarah


If only they had a playground like that when I was a kid, would’ve been paradise!


    It was pretty sweet. The best part was the dads that were really into it and would go sliding behind their children but get stuck on the slide halfway. The dads in Japan are so neat.


So many interestign pictures.

Leave a Reply