Photo POSTcard: Finding Christmas in Japan

Christmas tree in Kyoto train station

During my trip to Japan this November, I was surprised at how many Christmas decorations I saw throughout my travels. I did not expect to find Christmas in Japan.

As I traveled throughout the country,  all the hotels I stayed at had decorated Christmas trees. I saw wreaths on doorways; heard american holiday music in the restaurants and saw amazing lighted Christmas displays in shops and shopping malls. I thought the most striking display though was this one in Kyoto’s futuristic train station. Two things caught my eye in this space – the amazing modern metal lattice architecture of the domed ceiling in contrast with the juxtaposition of a very large, traditional Christmas tree. In this natural black and white space, the tree was the only thing that offered a small pop of color. 

The train station’s modern steel and glass design by award winning architect Hiroshi Hara was very controversial in a city that makes a living from its traditional and historic architecture.  Similarly, I found decorated Christmas trees to be somewhat incongruous in a country where only one percent of the population is Christian. I guess it’s just another example of the impact of our global economy.

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Thanks for visiting and Happy Holidays, whichever ones you may celebrate.