Although only one in two million Japanese are Christians, the Festive Season is not overlooked in Japan. In fact anything involving the national sport of shopping, is embraced with gusto and Christmas with it’s shining lights, trees, gifts and ornaments is enjoyed as a cultural event.[pinit]
I was particularly transfixed by the decorations for sale in the Daimaru Department Store in downtown Kyoto. Having spent a ridiculous amount of time looking but not buying one day, I returned to purchase a small lightweight glass christmas tree ornament with red apples hanging from the end of the branches. The tree and apples were packed individually in polystyrene and made the transition back to Australia unbroken. I did break one apple in a recent move – nothing that a little glue didn’t fix though. Normally I wouldn’t spend $17 AUD on 4 inches tall glass ornament, but it was so delicate and unusual and still reminds me of Japan. I display it year round but unfortunately our possessions are in storage at the moment so I can’t show it to you.
Kyoto Train Station’s outstanding contribution to the Christmas Spectacle is a huge glittering tree. You might think a train station an odd place for a festive tree but this architectural giant of glass and steel has as many facilities as a small town and the soaring spaces to accommodate a monster. To give you some idea the station’s size, it houses a shopping mall, hotel, movie theatre and the Isetan department store.
On the west wing the grand staircase connects the 4th to 15th floor and there on the 4th floor stage is the Christmas Tree. Like the Spanish Steps in Rome, the grand staircase doubles as seating and is a good place for Christmas Tree and people watching, although you wouldn’t think so by the photo below.
We filled in some time investigating the station and climbing the 171 steps to the sky garden with its impressive city views. I’m sure every visitor uses the station at some stage during their Kyoto stay and it is worth allowing an hour or so extra to explore this award winning design.
I see they resisted the urge to decorate the Sky Garden bamboo.
Beside the sky garden are glass viewing windows.
The station and nearby Kyoto Tower are two iconic modern landmarks in a city devoted to traditional architecture. As a train station the building doesn’t seem out of place and it’s space and efficiency make me love it.
While we waited for a bus outside the station in mid-November, workers twirled lights around the stems of the small trees in the station forecourt adding to the festive atmosphere.
The 131 metre tall Kyoto Tower itself appears like a giant christmas decoration.
While Christmas Trees, Decorations and gift buying have been accepted into mainstream Kyoto, traditional western Christmas food options are limited, but keep in mind that Kyoto has some good French Restaurants.
Kyotoites do not have a public holiday for Christmas or Boxing Day but they join in the Christmas spirit and nod their head to the west, by eating KFC at Christmas, so why not join them!
Thanks for visiting, I really appreciate it and would love you to add your travel post to the link below for Nancie’s Travel Photo Thursday which I co-host with Ruth from Tanama Tales and Rachel from Rachel’s Ruminations.