Jingle bells on the rock! We check out what to eat, see and do in Okinawa this holiday season.
As you might guess for a non-Christian country, Japan isn’t as crazy about Christmas as others but if there’s one thing that says Japanese Xmas food, it’s cake. Other countries have stollen or rich fruit cake, Japan traditionally has a cream sponge with fruit, normally strawberries. It’s normally eaten on Christmas Eve after maybe going out for dinner. You’ll see them especially in convenience stores and pre-ordering for this popular Christmas treat is often necessary.
Need another excuse to eat fried chicken, then Christmas is it! If you fancy some KFC instead of turkey at Christmas then you’d better reserve in advance and yes we’re serious. KFC is synonymous with Christmas dinner in Japan with queues around the block. It’s said to stem from the 1970s when expats in Tokyo mentioned while in a store that fried chicken was the next best thing to turkey which couldn’t be found in Japan. KFC saw an opportunity and marketing took over.
Some countries treat the 25th December as being the day for big celebration and others celebrate on the evening of the 24th. Japanese often see the evening of 24th December as a romantic celebration with dinner out, proposals and of course cake. Many children do get excited at the thought of “St Claus” arriving at their bedside overnight. Once the celebrations are over, it’s a traditional time of year to clean home and business and various items are displayed to hope for good fortune in the New Year, such as bamboo rakes and decorative palm trees at entrances.
Don’t want to sit at home – then head on out for Christmas food or fun. Okinawa may not have the wide variety of Christmas events as back home but there are places to go and things to see.
If you are looking to celebrate on Christmas Eve why not check out the Brazilian Christmas party at Bovino’s. They’re doing an all you can eat dinner with a special Brazilian Christmas menu. It also includes all you can drink soft drinks, beer and wine as well as a glass of sparkling wine and children free under 12 years all for just ¥5000!
For a taste of a snowy winter in Okinawa, the closest you are likely to get is the Christmas fantasy at Okinawa Zoo Park.
Taking place from December 23rd to 28th, they’ve got three laser shows every day, a snow show with a Japanese style igloo or “Kamakura” as well as fireworks and much more! Tickets are available in advance with a ¥300 discount off the ¥2000 door price for adults or there’s a ¥200 discount off the door price of ¥1200 for children’s tickets purchased in advance. More information at www.xmas-fantasy.com
New Year is a much more significant time for most Japanese. Even the busiest salary man takes time off to visit Shinto shrines or Buddist temples within the first couple of days of New Year. There is a large temple and shrine just outside Foster’s Legion Gate at the intersection of Highways 330 and 81. The whole area comes alive at the New Year, with various stalls outside selling food lining Highway 330 and many hundreds if not thousands of people visiting the temple there. The road gets very busy so if you want to visit it’s advisable to walk. Enjoy your Okinawan Christmas!