Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I’ve got a few actual fashion and travel related posts I really want to do, but for now enjoy some Christmas in Japan photos from the last two years, including magical times at Tokyo Disney Sea. Foods, lights, trees and random Santas.

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I’ve blogged about Sweets Forest in Jiyugaoka before but they stepped their game up in a redesign and Christmas fantasy. Talk about a great date spot.
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The walkway up to Sweets Forest is equally pretty.

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I only had one seasonal sweet and this was from a Popcorn pop-up place. Popcorn is still really popular in Japan. They filled popcorn, puffed rice and other light things and poured DRY ICE over the whole thing. The they topped with matcha ice cream and raspberries. It was smoking while I ate it with the toothpicks. Probably super unsafe to be eating dry ice items, but I followed the directions and saved my ice cream until last and made it through. My mouth smoked each time I ate some. I looked like I was vaping LOL

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Most houses in Japan are boring looking and don’t decorate for Christmas, but this one in my neighborhood did ad their garlands even lit up at night.

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Floresta‘s 2016 special donut for Christmas. Delicious as always.

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Line icon Brown is decorated in the Harajuku store for Christmas. Human hand prints for size.

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Cannibal mascot Peko-chan is ready to deliver presents in the Fujiya in Nakano.

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Odd eat-park NamjaTown in Ikebukuro fancied up for Christmas.

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Osaka Shinsaibashi OPA is using Santa to advertise their credit card.

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Shibuya Parco was lit up for Christmas. Cuteness factor by Frances (franceslovesyou)

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Shibuya 109 for 2015 Christmas did Exile and a nice red and green theme. This year it’s silver with Exo. I’m not a fan. They turned an old discount shop on B2 into an event space for EXO this year. Event space (along with theme cafes) is the answer all around Japan on how to deal failing clothing stores and weakening malls. Shibuya 0101 also now has event spaces, theme cafes and floor for otaku merchandise. Quite a step-down for the mall that used to house all Sweet magazine‘s main stores. There you go, trend commentary in a Christmas photo post. BOOM.

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If Roppongi could not get more boring they’ve put out the dullest tree in front of Roppongi Hills.

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Darth Santa is the only way I want presents from now on at Kiddyland Harajuku.

Tokyo Disney Christmas

Tokyo Disney Sea is my favorite Disney, but after going to Christmas event at Walt Disney World Florida I have to say America does Christmas better. But there a few things that are better in Japan.

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Every year Christmas Wishes is the theme of Christmas in Tokyo Disney.

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I buy the monorail passes because I save them. I’ve tried to get myself out of this because it’s cheaper to suica, but isn’t it so pretty?

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One of the Christmas positives about Japan Disney is how they light up the whole park. The Toy Story area is my favorite.

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In 2016 they were a bit too busy celebrating Tokyo Disney Sea’s 15th anniversary so Christmas didn’t get as fancy.

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Another Japan Disney positive is their seasonal drinks and foods. I can’t believe America Disney doesn’t jump on more seasonal foods. Mostly all America does is seasonal cupcakes. I’m not a sweet drink fan but this was cute and warm. I went the day after it snowed in Tokyo and it was still cold.

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The Italian themed Tokyo Disney Sea all wonderfully lit up near the waterside.

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So many adorable seasonal Disney merch. I only bought a cup this year.

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Tsumtsum Disney tree in Shibuya Hikarie Disney pop-up. How many distorted mes can you spot?

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I’ve been meaning to show these Christmas in Japan photos each year and I never do it. But this year I was able to edit them on the car trip up to family and share. Photos from last year and this year of the cute and beautiful Christmas in Japan. Including Arpakasso Alapacas in Santa hats and gorgeous trees.

Merry Christmas peeps!
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My favorite tree of the season. Malls and such often do showy trees but Takashimaya in Nagoya on their food level. (which houses the Misonikomi Udon)

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The tree wasn’t the only lovely part of Nagoya Takashimaya. In their entry level they had a steampunk fantasyland set up. People were surrounding it taking photos so it definitely was a favorite in Nagoya.

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All OPA malls have pink trees. This one was in Kyoto OPA.

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This pink tree was in Osaka’s new mall Umeda OPA. Along with a creepy yet interesting dentist promising smaller faces.

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It took a lot to resist this Olaf wreath. You silly Olaf.

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Inside actual Disney it was cookie themed Christmas items last year.

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Super cute Mickey and Minnie snowman.

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Donki has your one stop shopping needs. Including trees and rilakkuma stockings.

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I never understand who chooses to be the reindeer.

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Cute looking specialty cake at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.

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The Kyoto Chirimen craft makers is my favorite traditional store. Their traditional weaving has expanded to dolls and the Christmas ones are adorable.

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It was a Frozen christmas this year at popular mall Shinjuku Lumine

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An “illumination” in the middle of salaryman Tokyo.

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And so many Arpakasso Alpaca santa shots from last year.

No Christmas Alpaca that I saw this year. But they were cute why they lasted!

I hope you’re enjoying your day and spend it the best way you can!

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Sometimes I’ll be walking alongside my man in Japan and he’ll have to turn back to see where I went. Usually because I’ve found something interesting to snap. Either “this could be useful for the blog” or “that’s amusing” goes through my head and I have to stop and take a quick photo. And often they’re good or useful and I share them on the blog or spam twitter or the fancier ones get instagrammed. But then I have a collection of ones that never make it anywhere.

Enjoy some random Japan photos from 2 to 4 weeks ago as the title says.

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Ladies only wrapped train in Osaka for Tokyo Disney. Osaka seems to have the most wrapped trains of any city in Japan.

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The awkward crotch shots and horrible names of Donki underwear.

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Covered shopping area near Shinsaibashi. Yukata and Kimono store on the left is advertising Jelly’s Kimono issue.

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Lovely wa fabrics in Okadaya Shinjuku. Need to be crafty or buy make-up or hairdye? Okadaya in Shinjuku is a great central place.

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Rienda just released their fabric softener and fabric mist both for 900 yen each ($8.50). This ad was in Osaka Shinsaibashi OPA cosmetic store. A little regret I didn’t purchase.

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I absolutely love countryside views from a train. This was on a Shinkansen heading to Osaka.

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Popular Fukuoka ramen chain Ichiran had this crazy set-up of toilet rolls in their Ikebukuro location restroom.

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The lack of daylight savings time in Japan makes twilight early, like here in Hiroshima.

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Or at the base of Sky Tree in Tokyo.

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The forever tacky long standing Love Hotel “Hotel Zebra” in Ikebukuro.

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“Let the kittens drink their milk” Gatchapon from a Hiroshima gamesen.

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The crazy and cool heel at R & E inside Hiroshima Parco.

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Chicano style lowrider in Osaka. There’s an interesting lowrider culture in Japan where the fans also dress in the subculture style (see a video from an Odaiba meet). If you want to see good tricked out cars in Japan, Amemura in Osaka on a weekend is one of the best places to spot them.

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Nagano is a really wonderful town with a spectacular temple, the Nagano Zenkoji Temple. Nagano of course is famous for the 1998 Winter Olympics and symbols from that event still remain. It’s also shockingly close to Tokyo. And quite doable if you’d like to simply make a day trip out of it. Tokyo station to Nagano station is only 86 minutes by Shinkansen.

Of course Nagano is a ski resort town and also known for its monkey park (like the one in Arashiyama). But the Jigokudani in Nagano is a hot steam monkey park. English website for the monkey park is here and taking 1 hour and 30 minutes by bus from Nagano station it’s definitely something you’ll have to spend the whole day on.

I went back in 2011 (previous post of getting lost in the apple orchards of Nagano). And figured this was a great time to share because it was koyo time in Nagano (mid November). The Nagano Zenkoji is massive and one of the best temples I’ve been to outside of Kyoto. But instead of all this talking let’s photo and  talk.

 

The walk is one of my favorite things about the Nagano Zenkoji. It’s on high and you’re surrounded by gorgeous mountains in full koyo colors. And the shops are all these mom-and-pop businesses.

Almost to the temple check out those gorgeous koyo colors. Even a cloudy day won’t dim this.

The main temple itself which was massive.

I love when temple ema get cutesy. I’ve blogged about cute ema in Nara that were heart-shaped but Rilakkuma ema?

It’s the simple needs, isn’t it?  :wink:

The Rokujizo statutes six Bodhisattvas, who gave up Buddhist enlightenment, in order to provide salvation to others.

Close-up of one of the Rokujizo

Super cool incense burner

The Sanmon gate which was refurbished in 2007. Now you can see the giant Buddhist statues inside. Obviously that statue did not need to be asked if he lifts.

Just outside the temple is a super fancy building that must house a restaurant. Check that wonderful red maple.

Further down the way all the gorgeous places now turned to nice restaurants.

I stopped by Kinoko & Vegetable to eat. It’s on the Zenkoji road. I highly recommend it! It was an all you can eat buffet of mainly vegetables. Everything was locally sourced and seasonal. It was only 1,400 yen for all you can eat. So many vegetables. I will definitely eat there again.

The crowd down the temple street. Check out the JRock band on the right. I think there were semi-famous because some people were taking pictures. I know 0 about JRock so…

I loved the look of the coffee shops that line the cold Nagano street. See the cute coffee mug?

Another coffee shop offering traditional Zenzai (red bean soup) sweets.

Tiny little stalls that lined the temple road.

And Nagano itself since it’s not just monkey parks, apple orchards and shrines. It’s a bustling town.

This was a day trip for me from Niigata to Sendai. I was able to enjoy Zenkoji easily but not do the monkey park because of staying in Sendai that night.

Traveling Japan can be inexpensive! I spent 1,400 on food. 200 on beverages. And 1,000 on a train ticket because I got lost. The temple was free. So in total 2,600 yen for a detour or $25 USD.

Want more Nagano posts? Only the apple one here

Want more traveling around Japan posts? I’ve got you covered from Sendai to Kagoshima 

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