Category Archives: SANTA

The real Santa with grotto and sleigh in Tochigi

In the big search for Santa in 2015, one prefecture that stood out for having a great selection of Santa events and attractions was TOCHIGI. So my family of six took to the road to do a bit of reconnaissance. We were very happy with the trip and the abundance of Christmas events and Santa visits in areas of Tochigi.

Nasu Santa (8)It was in Nasu in Tochigi that we found “our” Santa, the one that felt most like the Santa from my youth, that made my children truly believe and added some magic to their Christmas experience. What makes that Santa so magical is that he is in a Grotto and he has his day sledge parked outside.  It was the first thing the kids saw as we pulled into the car park of Finland No Mori and raised the excitement and anticipation from the get-go. It was the start of a magical day for my four kids aged 1 to 6 years old at the time, and I have to say, I enjoyed it more than I had expected. We thoroughly absorbed the Christmas atmosphere and came home with a little jingle in our steps! There were so many Santa photo spots, events and attractions throughout Nasu so driving around that area felt more like Christmas than anywhere else I have experienced in Japan. We will make the trip again this year.

FINLAND NO MORI

People queuing up to see the real Santa
People queuing up to see the real Santa

Finland no Mori is a small Finnish theme park of sorts.  There are only a few shops, but among them is a Moomin shop selling character goods from the popular Finnish cartoon. The main shop is the Harman stoves store, which sells and showcases stoves from throughout the generations. There is a novelty shop within the store. There is also a cafe and shop selling foreign produce on the site and next to it the very popular Hammock Cafe. I think the small retail park is aptly named as it does feel very Scandinavian.
Hammock Cafe

They offer two ways to meet Santa. One is a free event that is usually run the weekend before Christmas. The other way is to spend more than 1000 yen at the bakery, Mori no Pan Ya, and foreign produce shop in Finland no Mori and get a ticket to see him on the same day (weekends and holidays only). With this ticket you get the opportunity to take photos with your own camera. Each day the times are a little different and subject to change so please check on the website (below), but generally there is a mid-morning and early afternoon slot. The day we went the crowds weren’t actually that bad at all, but there was a TV crew there filming which held up the queue.

2016 Information: Santa Claus is visiting Finland No Mori EVERY DAY this year from December 14th to 24th. There are mainly 3 time slots in a day, but on the 17th, 18th and 21st there are 2 time slots. The FREE event for this year is from 3 pm to 4 pm on December 17th. You can see the detailed schedule for 2016 here:
http://www.finlandnomori.net/news.html

Nasu Santa (7)Apart from the opportunity to meet the real Santa, there are also some fun Santa photo spots around the area. Within Finland no Mori itself they have a Santa statue and wooden blocks painted as Santa.  Not too far from Finland no mori, there is a shop were it is Christmas all year round; Christmas Town. Also nearby is the Teddy Bear Museum  which we visited on the trip and some of the teddies are dressed up in Santa outfits and Olaf costumes. Near the Nasu highway exit we stopped at 661 street, which has a great display of Santa statues, including a Coca-Cola Santa at the Coke Store. Usually that store has a Santa visiting too.  There were many places we passed on our journey that had Christmas decorations and winter illumination. There wasn’t time to investigate them all, but generally we felt Nasu had a nice Christmas atmosphere and Scandinavian feel and I certainly want to go back to investigate more. If you have anywhere you would like to recommend, please do not hesitate to comment.

 

URL: http://finlandnomori.net/

Address: 2730-36 Takakuotsu, Nasu Tochigi 325-0303

Phone: 0287-78-0981

Thanks to the completion of a new stretches of highway, Tochigi is very accessible from Saitama. It took us just under two hours to reach our first stop in Nasu on the Tohokudo expressway.

The Santa Claus Round Up 2016 | SAITAMA

All of the Santa meet and greet spots included in the above map are detailed in the event section of insaitama.com.  If you click on a Santa on the map it will open a small window with the location’s details and a link to the event’s details. Click on the link to be brought to specifics for that Santa Claus Meet and Greet event.

For those who are visiting Santa in Saitama for the first time, please note that Santa Claus visits in Japan are not like what you might be used to at home. There is no grotto, no present from Santa and you take a photo with your own camera. Most of the events are free, with the exception of the Maruhiro Santa events, which cost 300 yen.

33 Santa Claus Locations in Tokyo

19 Santa Claus Locations in Chiba

The Santa Round-up 2016 | CHIBA

Where can I visit Santa in CHIBA?

Santa Claus arrived into Narita airport this morning, November 25th, by plane to attend all the different Santa meet and greet events around Kanto. Please do note that Santa visits here are a lot more simple than in other countries. There is generally no grotto, no presents and no professional photographer.  You can take a photo, but with your own camera.

Below is some of the places where you can find Santa in CHIBA prefecture. Where you see the mention of a “Finnish / Finland Santa” means that it is the Santa that flew into Japan today (or a variation of him).  🙂  If you are looking for where you can visit Santa in Tokyo, that is also featured on this blog: The Santa Round-up 2016 | TOKYO

Please feel free to share this information around.  insaitama.com is a free and not-for-profit blog sharing information for those who don’t read Japanese.

 

FROM NOVEMBER

Ikspiari Town

White Santa is currently on his annual visit to Ikspiari Town, he arrived on NOVEMBER 8TH. You can only meet him if you have receipts for over 3000 yen. They also have another Santa meet and greet opportunity this year, if you take part in a campaign between November 8th and 30th, you will be put in a draw for dinner with Santa between December 22nd and 24th.
Official site: http://www.ikspiari.com/ent/event/christmas2016/
More information in English for this year:
http://insaitama.com/santa-ikspiari/

 

**DISNEY** You can no longer meet and greet Santa in Tokyo Disney Land and Sea. He does feature in the Christmas parades, but is not available for a close up!

DECEMBER

Ario, Ichihara

The Ichihara branch of Ario have a Lapland Santa visiting on December 3rd between 2 and 4 pm. This is a free event and will take place in the indoor part of Sunshine Court.
URL: http://www.ario-ichihara.jp/web/event/4aba9f15-db0c-42de-9222-87432602f902.html

Premium Outlets

Premium Outlets at SHISUI offer the chance to get your photo taken with Santa (bring your own camera!) on December 4th at the stage area in front of the food court. There will be four time slots at 10 am, 12.30 pm, 2 pm and 3.30 pm. Each time slot they will allow the first 50 families to visit with him. He will also visit the premium outlets in Ibaraki, Tochigi and Shizuoka on different dates.
Event URL: http://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/sp/wsr_santa2016/

Toys R Us, Babies R Us

Santa will be visiting a number of Toysrus and Babiesrus around Chiba. Please note that some of these Santa are Japanese. You can check with your local branch to see which type of Santa is visiting. On December 3rd you can meet him at the Shin-Urayasu and Makuhari Shintoshin branches.  On the 4th he will be at the Shin Kamagaya and Funabashi branches. On the 10th he is at the Matsudo and Chiba New Town branches. On the 11th he is at Narita and Noda city branches. On the 17th at Chiba Naganuma branch. On the 18th and Soga and Ichikawa branches.  Times are 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm.  URL: https://www.toysrus-cp.jp/xmas/#scroll-SantaSchedule

Kashiwa Takashimaya Station Mall

Santa will visit Kashiwa Takashimaya Station Mall on December 17th at three different times. Between 10.30 and 11 am he will be in the 6th floor kids room, from noon to 1 pm he will be in specialty store at the 5th floor plaza and from 1.30 to 2 pm he will be at the Sanrio Gift gate on the 5th floor.  All of these are in the S Wing. More information in Japanese on the official site:
http://www.takashimaya.co.jp/kashiwa/topics/others.html#os19987

Sheraton (Tokyo Bay) Hotel

For patrons of the hotel or even just of the eateries in the hotel, there will be opportunities to meet Santa on both December 23rd and 24th.  He will visit between 6 and 8 pm on both evenings.
Official Site: http://www.sheratongrandetokyobay.com/jp/christmas2016

 

Ario,  Soga

The Soga branch of Ario have a Finland Santa visiting on December 24th at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. This event is limited to the first 50 families for each time slot. They require that you have at least one child under school age, i.e under 7 years old. The event will take place at the 1st floor Sun Court.
Event URL: http://www.ario-soga.jp/web/event/d323c23e-f901-4be0-ac9c-66ea11254233.html

NEW Funabashi Andersen Park

GREEN Santa, an eco-friendly Santa from Denmark, will visit Funabashi Andersen Park on December 23rd at 11.20 am and 2.20 pm. Website: http://www.park-funabashi.or.jp/and/aevnts.htm

Narita Airport

This year Narita Airport is celebrating 25 years of Santa visiting.  As I said above, he arrived into Japan via Narita airport today, but he usually visits on Christmas Eve too. I will post more information here when it is released.

There are a few other places I am waiting to confirm whether they will have Santa visiting again this year, I will add them if they are confirmed. If you do know of any, please do share so that everyone can find a Santa near them. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Lapland Santa at Ito-Yokado | TOKYO

You will often hear Santa in Japan being referred to as a フィンランドのサンタ i.e. Finnish or Finland Santa. This is what we call a Lapland Santa at home. Basically, in Japan this is code for a non-Japanese Santa that is usually a native or 2nd language English speaker.  There has been a big increase in the number of “real” Santa in Japan in the last few years.

The Kasai branch of Ito-Yokado have a Finnish / Lapland Santa visiting 3 times on the 18th of December.  The sessions are at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm.  There will be an opportunity for a quick chat and photo with Santa on the 1st floor mall stage.

Event URL: http://blog.itoyokado.co.jp/shop/195/event.html

Access

Address: 9 Chome-3-3 Higashikasai, Edogawa-ku, Tōkyō-to 134-0084

Tel: 03-5675-1011

Hours: 10 am to 9 pm

Parking for 1850 cars

Nearest station is Kasai Station on the Tozai line.  Kasai Rinkai Station on the Keiyo Line is also close although its at least a 30 minute walk.

Santa is coming to Haneda Airport International Terminal Station | TOKYO

A Finnish Santa will visit the Haneda Airport International Terminal Station this Saturday November 26th.  They are giving out 25 tickets to families with young children to meet him inside the styles on the 2nd floor. You must have a valid train ticket for that station.  There are two sessions, one at 4.15 pm and one at 4.50 pm. He will be there for about 20 minutes each time. Tickets will be distributed from 2 pm on the 3rd floor.

Haneda Airport International Terminal Station is a railway station at Tokyo International Airport in Ota, Tokyo, Japan. The station is operated by Keikyu, a private railway operator, and Tokyo Monorail.

This particular event is not on the official train station website:
http://www.haneda-access.com/international/guide.html

 

Access

 

 

 

Santa is coming to Keikyu Department Store | YOKOHAMA

クリスマスシーンを演出する商品が充実

A Finnish Santa will visit the Yokohama Keikyu Department Store this Saturday November 26th.  They are giving 30 tickets to families with young children to meet him in the Hagu Kumi Park on the 5th floor, which is the kids floor of this Keikyu Department store.  There are two sessions, one at 1.30 pm and one at 2.10 pm. He will be there for about 20 minutes each time. Tickets will be distributed from 10 am in the Hagu Kumi Park on that day.

This particular event is not on the Keikyu Department Store’s website, but they have other Christmas events listed in Japanese:
http://www.keikyu-depart.com/kqdep/index.html

 

Access

In Kamio-Oka Station, Keikyu and Blue Train lines.

1 Chome−6, Kamiookanishi, Kōnan-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken, 233-8556

Phone: 045-848-1111

Hours: 10 am to 8 pm

Source: ハグ・クミ・パーク | 各ショッピング店舗情報ページ | 京急百貨店

The Santa Round-up 2016 | TOKYO

Where can I visit Santa in Tokyo?

This list is specifically for places you can visit Santa in TOKYO. Please be aware that Santa meet and greets are not like what you might be used to in your home country. There is generally no grotto and he doesn’t give out a present. A “Finland” Santa generally refers to the real Santa from Lapland.  As of the 27th of November 2016 there are 33 Santa Claus locations on this list, more will be added if new information comes to light.  You can find 18 Santa locations in CHIBA here: The Santa Round-up 2016 | CHIBA. And 23 locations for SAITAMA here: The 2016 Santa Round up for SAITAMA.

Most of the locations that have Santa visiting do state that as Santa is a busy man there maybe changes to the event’s time and location, and even availability of Santa, so please do always ring ahead or check with the official site before heading out the door.

If you wish to have Santa visit your home, Guy Totaro can put you in touch with the real Santa with his “In Home Santa” service:
http://www.supagaijin.com/services/santa-claus/

Please feel free to share this information around.  insaitama.com is a free and not-for-profit blog sharing information for those who don’t read Japanese.

**Sincerest apologies: Coca Cola in Odaiba City was listed in error before I confirmed that Santa was visiting this year, and has been removed from the list. And regrettably it seems Santa is NOT scheduled for the Ritz Carlton this year.**

サンタが東京にやってくる!東京で25所にサンタさんが会えるの紹介です。

DECEMBER MEET AND GREETS

UPDATED LaQua, Tokyo Dome City

Santa will be walking around LaQua in Tokyo Dome City at 3 pm, 4 pm, 5 pm and 6 pm on December 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 24th and 25th. Each session he will be around for about 30 minutes. This year they don’t have any mention of a photo opportunity with him on their official site, but according to Tokyo Dome City newsletter “say hello and get your photo taken with him”.
Japanese webpage: LaQua’s Christmas Information 2016

Toysrus and Babiesrus

The Toysrus Santa will start visiting stores around the country from December 3rd. This Santa is often Japanese. In Tokyo, the first store to have him visit is the Ikebukuro Sunshine City branch. On the 4th he will be in Odaiba and Machida Tamasaki branches.  On the 10th in Toshimaen and Musashi Murayama (See MORI TOWN below also). On the 11th in the Tama branch. On the 17th in TOYS R US Fuchu. In BABIES R US Fuchu on the 24th. He will visit for 30 minutes five times in each place. The full list by date is here (Japanese): https://www.toysrus-cp.jp/xmas/#

Grandberry Mall

Grandberry Mall is a popular place to visit Santa in Machida, Tokyo. This year the dates have been set for the 23rd, the 24th and the 25th. They have increased the number of Santa Greetings from three to four, at 11 am, 1, 3 and 5 pm. The 1st 100 lined up will get to meet Santa and receive a sweet treat from him.
http://www.grandberrymall.com/event/#424

Ario Nishi Arai

The real Santa (Finnish) will visit Ario in Nishi Arai on December 23rd at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. The location within the store will be revealed at 9 am on that day.
http://www.ario-nishiarai.jp/web/event/3ba0eee3-ce26-4d29-891e-6409949d8407.html

 

UPDATED Gate City Plaza

The official website has now been updated. Santa will be at Gate City on December 23rd.  Santa will visit from 1 pm and participate in an interactive show on stage. You can get photos taken with Santa from 1.30 to 2.30 pm or from 4 to 5 pm.  Each time they will afford 150 families the opportunity to get a photo with Santa. Tickets for this event will be distributed from 9 am. The official website (Japanese) is: http://www.gatecity.jp/plaza/event/  

NEW Lumine Ogikubo

(Added 24/11). Santa is visiting the Ogikubo branch of Lumine on December 23rd. They don’t specify if he is a Finland / Lapland Santa or not. He will meet and greet and give out candy three times during the day at midday, 2 pm and 5 pm.  Official site: http://www.lumine.ne.jp/ogikubo/topics/topics_details.php?article_no=3045

NEW Lumine Kitasenju

(Added 27/11) Santa Claus will visit the 10th floor of Lumine in Kitasenju three times on December 23rd, at 1 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm. Each time he will be there for 30 minutes.  The official website does not have the details online yet, but Tokyo event websites are reporting his planned visit. Lumine Kitasenju website: http://www.lumine.ne.jp/kitasenju/

Royal Park Hotel

The hotel offers 2 ways to meet Santa for patrons of their coffee shop Symphony. You can book online already to participate in a Santa dessert in the late afternoon or a Santa buffet in the early evening on December 21st and 22nd.  More information in Japanese: http://www.rph.co.jp/restaurants/plan/ds15us000000hsmu.html

NEW Lalaport Toyosu

(Added 25/11) There are news articles in Japanese that Santa is visiting Lalaport in Toyasu, but the official site does not support that information yet. It is reported that he will visit on December 24th at 11.30 am, 1 pm, 2.30 pm and 4 pm for 30 minutes each time. 50 families will get the chance to meet him each session and you can take a photo with him (with your own camera). This is a free event.
Lalaport Toyosu URL: http://toyosu.lalaport.jp/

UPDATED Mori Town

Rumour has it that Santa will visit Mori Town between December 23rd and 25th, three times a day, for a find Santa event.  Santa will be hiding somewhere in Mori Town, find him to get a sweet from him and a photo taken with him. The times are 11.30 am, 1.30 pm and 3 pm. It is a free event. The information has not yet been updated on their website, which is:
http://www.moritown.com/event/detail/?id=304
He is visiting the Toysrus in Mori Town on the 10th of December, although its not yet known if it is a Finland Santa or not.

UPDATED Nihonbashiya Takashimaya

The real Santa from the North Pole is set to visit Takashimaya in Nihonbashi four times on Christmas Eve for a meet and greet. The times are 11 am, 1, 3 and 5 pm. Information has not yet been added to their website.
https://www.takashimaya.co.jp/tokyo/christmas/index.html

There is also an event on December 10th and 11th at 2 and 4 pm on the 5th floor where Santa will make balloon animals.

 Picture

 

NEW Kidzania

Green Santa is visiting Kidzania in December. They have released the information on their website where you can get details on how to participate in this event.
Official site: Kidzania Christmas Information 2016

UPDATED Haneda Airport

Again the information for 2016 is not yet available, but The real Santa from Finland (formerly Lapland) has been confirmed on Haneda Airport ‘s website. He will visit 4 times a day between December 23rd and December 25th at 10.30 am, 12.30, 3 and 5 pm.

OTHER WAYS YOU CAN SEE SANTA

Hotel New Otani

You can see Santa in his Grotto everyday at the Hotel New Otani. However, he is not necessarily available for photos and the times are not provided. If you are lucky you can spot him at work or even better get a photo opportunity.  Official website (Japanese only):  http://www.newotani.co.jp/tokyo/xmas/events/02_house.html
On this blog in English:
http://insaitama.com/santa-claus-house-hotel-new-otani/

Sunshine Aquarium

This year, Sunshine Aquarium ‘s theme is “Colourful Christmas”. They have their famous Santa dive where Santa is in the aquarium in full Santa attire. The penguins don Santa hats and they have a number of events running during the period.
http://www.sunshinecity.co.jp/event/e1325.html?from=aqua


There is a Shibuya Santa Festival from December 1st to 25th, but no details are provided on whether you can meet Santa Claus or not. Also, times and dates are not provided for when he is on site.

 There may still be some Santa Claus locations to unearth in Tokyo, but I know that a lot of people are waiting for this list. I thank you for your patience and support. Santa information in English is still sorely lacking, I couldn’t find anywhere else with more than 5 places listed so I’ve worked hard to bring you as many as possible. PLEASE if you do know of somewhere else I can add, do let me know so we can help everyone find a Santa near them. 🙂 


FINISHED EVENTS

OVER Hibarigaoka Parco Santa

Said to be the first Santa visit of the year in Tokyo, Santa Claus visited Parco in Hibarigaoka on November 11th.
https://twitter.com/maedadayo0426/status/797349263130755072?lang=ja

OVER  Haneda Airport International Terminal STATION

(Added 24/11). A Finnish Santa will visit the Haneda Airport International Terminal train station on November 26th. Only 25 families will receive tickets to meet him, which will be distributed on the 3rd floor from 2 pm that day. The Santa visits are scheduled for 4.15 pm and 4.50 pm. There are 2 conditions; you must have a preschooler or younger in your party AND you must have a valid ticket for the train station. They don’t have the information on their offical website. Information in English on this blog:
Santa is coming to Haneda Airport International Terminal Station | TOKYO

OVER Saint Clair

Santa will visit at Ochanomizu for the 10th year in a row, from 11 am on December 3rd. This event is limited to the first 120 families.
Official Poster:
http://saint-clair.jp/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/57c43e02d7d100450b19a122cb0deffe.pdf
On this blog in English:
http://insaitama.com/santa-claus-in-tokyo-ochanomizu-2016/

OVER NEW LOWP Kitchen

(Added 27/11) For children aged between 7 and 15 years old Santa’s Craftech Workshop is on December 4th from 1 to 5pm.   The 3000 yen fee for one adult and one child includes; “Visit and Photo Time with Santa, Crafts, Cookies and Drinks (hot chocolate or juice for kids coffee or hot chocolate for adults). Photos and video will shot during Craftech Kids to be used on the Lowp website and social media.” This event **requires booking**.  LOWP webpage: http://lowp.jp/event/008.html For more about Santa: http://www.supagaijin.com/services/santa-claus/

OVER NishiKasai Center

(Added 27/11) Santa visit (10 am or 1 pm) AND Christmas Dinner Party (4 pm) with Santa, with activities, games and photo with Santa on December 10th. The 3rd session from 4 pm is for children 4 and up. This one **requires booking** soon and costs money.  It costs 6,500 yen for one adult and one child for non-members and 5,500 yen for Kids International members. An additional adult is 1,200 yen, an additional child is 3,700 yen. You can get a list of prices and full details in English on the event’s official webpage:
http://www.kids-int.co.jp/special/xmas16/nk.html 

OVER Tokyu Hyakkaten Honten

(Added 27/11) Santa Claus from Finland will visit between 2 and 3 pm on the 17th of December. The first 50 families will be able to meet and greet Santa. The event is restricted to families with children under 7 years old. Tickets for the event will be distributed at 9.40 am on the 17th.
URL: http://www.tokyu-dept.co.jp/honten/news/detail.html/?id=746
In English on this blog: http://insaitama.com/santa-in-tokyu-hyakkaten-honten-shibuya/

OVER Ito Yokado

(Added 24/11) A Lapland Santa will visit the Kasai Branch of Ito Yokado on December 18th at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. Event webpage: http://blog.itoyokado.co.jp/shop/195/event.html More information in English on this blog: Lapland Santa at Ito-Yokado | TOKYO

For Other Christmas information for Tokyo, please see Best Living Japan’s 2016 Holiday Guide. It includes information on:

  • Where you can buy a Christmas Tree,
  • Top Tokyo Christmas Decoration Stores,
  • Tokyo Area 2016 Illuminations
  • Tokyo English Christmas Church Services

 

Santa Claus in Tokyo |OCHANOMIZU 2016

This year Saint Clair in Ochanomizu are celebrating 10 years of Santa visits. It is not only one of the longest running Finland Santa’s in Tokyo, but also one of the most popular. People queue for hours for the chance to meet the real Santa.

This year Santa is visiting between 11 am and 3 pm on the 3rd of December. He will do an open address before that. It is a free event, but restricted to the first 120 families. You can meet Santa, shake his hand and get a photo with him. They start giving out the tickets around 11 am and they give a candy with the ticket.  People start to queue from early morning. You can’t meet him without a ticket.

Each year they hold a number of different events in conjunction with Santa’s visit such as live music and workshops. In line with the special anniversary they have a few additional events happening such as a commemorative coaster to the first 2000 customers.

URL: http://saint-clair.jp/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/57c43e02d7d100450b19a122cb0deffe.pdf

Access

Close to JR Chuo Sobu Line Ochanomizu station.

Close to Exit B1 of Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line Shin Ochanomizu station.

4 minute walk from Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line Ochanomizu station.

Santa IS coming to Saitama!

Santa Claus IS coming to Saitama. I was beginning to think he wasn’t, but just two minutes ago I found where Santa will visit in Saitama. He is visiting Mallage in Kuki this coming Sunday, the 20th of December.

Mallage are offering customers the chance to get their photo taken with Santa at one of the three allocated time slots. He will visit at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Tickets will be distributed to 100 customers each time, in the first floor “taki no court”. This is a free event. Don’t forget your camera!

Mallage has been around for quite sometime, but it recently added even more shops and services for families. It is also now more accessible thanks to the extension of the Ken-o highway, that opened last month. Parking is plentiful and free. If you have young children they might enjoy the Secret Forest, which features on this blog.

SANTAstic Tochigi

In my search for Santa, one prefecture that stood out for having a good selection of Santa events and attractions was TOCHIGI. So my family of six took to the road to do a bit of reconnaissance. Thanks to the completion of a new stretches of highway, Tochigi is very accessible from Saitama. It took us just under two hours to reach our first stop in Nasu, where much to my delight the first thing we saw was Santa’s private sleigh.  It was the start of a magical day for my four kids ages 1 to 6 years old, and I have to say, I enjoyed it more than I had anticipated. We thoroughly absorbed the Christmas atmosphere and came home with a little jingle in our steps! There were so many Santa photo spots, events and attractions and the great news is that there is even more SANTAstic fun planned for many parts of Tochigi for the next few days.

 

661 STREET

661 Street is a quirky row of shops and a museum, that are all adjoined. The Coca Cola store within 661 street offers two ways to meet Santa each Christmas. One is the SANTA EXPRESS! When you purchase more than 5,000 yen of Coca Cola goods in the Coke Store, Santa will personally deliver your purchases to your home (within the area). This offer runs between December 23rd and 25th. The other is a meet and greet within the Coca Cola store. (Images on the left and right from 661 street).

Apart from being able to meet the real Santa you can also enjoy the Christmas decorations and Santa photo spots. You can even get a photo with Elvis, a regular fixture at 661 street, with Santa in the background. That Santa is in front of the Coca Cola store. They also have inflated snowmen and a Santa display out the front of the premises.

Nasu Santa (1)    Nasu Santa (5)   Nasu Santa (4)

URL: http://www.661st.com/

Address: 4328-1 Takakuko, Nasu, Tochigi 325-0001.

Phone: 0287-64-0661

FINLAND NO MORI

People queuing up to see the real Santa
People queuing up to see the real Santa

Finland no Mori also offer two ways to meet Santa. This Saturday, the 19th, between 2 and 3pm anyone can meet him at the bakery for free, or you can pay to meet him at a more leisurely pace at allocated times from the 19th to the 25th. If you purchase 1,000 yen of goods from the bakery or cafe you get a ticket to see Santa. With this ticket you get the opportunity to take photos. Each day the times are a little different and subject to change so please check on the website (below), but generally there is a mid-morning and early afternoon slot.
Apart from the opportunity to meet the real Santa, there are also some fun Santa photo spots around the area.  Finland no mori is also home to a Moomin shop and a Hammock cafe among others. More to come on Finland no Mori in the coming days. Not too far from Finland no mori, there is a shop were it is Christmas all year round; Christmas Town.

Santa's sleigh Tochigi     Nasu Santa (7)     Nasu Santa (8)  Hammock Cafe

URL: http://finlandnomori.net/news.html

Address: 2730-36 Takakuotsu, Nasu Tochigi 325-0303

Phone: 0287-78-0981

 

BABIES-R-US

Santa Claus will be hanging out in the Babiesrus in Sano for most of the day on the 19th. He will be walking around the store a number of times during the day; 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm. If you find him, say hello and get a photo with him. Don’t forget your camera!

URL: http://www2.toysrus.co.jp/store/storeinfo/store.php?id=4789

Address: Aeon Mall, 1324-1 Takahagi Cho, Sano, Tochigi 327-0821

Phone: 0283-21-8801

 

SANTA TRAIN – MOOKA STEAM LOCOMOTIVE

Excerpt from an article on this blog, where you can get all the information you need: http://insaitama.com/santa-train/

This special event is only available for 2 days on December 19th and 20th. The outbound train leaves from Shimodate Station in Ibaraki at 10.35 arriving in Motegi in Tochigi at 12.06. It returns later that day, leaving Motegi at 14.26 arriving to Mooka  (not Shimodate)Station at 15.19. It costs for an adult 1030 yen ONE WAY for the event, plus 500 yen for the steam locomotive fare. Children cost 520 yen for the event and 250 yen for the train fare. Preschool children are free. Tickets for the steam locomotive are already on sale at Midori-no-madoguchi (Reservation Ticket Office), View Plaza (Travel Service Center) at Mooka Station in Tochigi.

URL: Mooka Steam Locomotive SANTA train

Phone: 0285-82-9151

NAKAGAWA AQUATIC PARK

Kimono santaFrom December 1st until 23rd the aquatic park in Otawara has Santa visiting. From 11am and 1pm, for an hour each time, you can get a photo of Santa swimming  around the tank and interacting with the audience with an etcher sketcher! On Saturdays and Sundays Santa wears a red Santa Kimono instead of his usual suit, at the 1pm showing only. The Santa event doesn’t cost any extra money, once you have a ticket in to the aquatic park. Entry is 600 yen for adults and 250 yen for children over 6. Under 6 are free. Please check the website for up-to-date prices. (Images on the left and right taken from the official website.)

URL: http://tnap.jp/index.php

Address: 2686 Sarado, Otawara-shi, TOCHIGI 324-0404

Phone: 0287-98-3055

 

PREMIUM OUTLETS SANO

Santa is available for photos on Saturday the 19th at the outlet. You can find information for Santa Claus at the Premium Outlets in Sano on this blog: http://insaitama.com/santa-premium-outlets/

URL:http://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/sano/

Phone: 0283-20-5800

Address: 2058 Koenacho, Sano, Tochigi Prefecture 327-0822

 

NASUKARASUYAMA CITY

It is rumoured that Santa will visit Nasukarayama on the 25th to give out sweets to kids. There is a popular winter illumination spot in this area run by the tourist association who can be contacted on 0287-84-1977. The flyer can be found online here: http://park18.wakwak.com/~omotenashi/irumi.pdf

I cannot confirm that Santa will visit on the 25th, but I have added to the list because it is the home of Santa Hills.  SANTA HILLS is a cottage and campsite where Santa has a house, hence it is rumoured he will visit his Tochigi house on the way home!! He does visit young guests of this campsite and lodges throughout December, but they also have a Christmas shop open to the general public and the cafe has a Christmassy feel too!

URL: http://www.santahills.co.jp/

Phone: 0287-96-4622

 

 

On our own trip, we also went to the Teddy Bear Museum where some of the teddies are dressed up in Santa outfits and Olaf costumes. There were many places we passed on our journey that had Christmas decorations and winter illumination. There wasn’t time to investigate them all. However, what we saw and what we felt was reminiscent of a Scandinavian Christmas and I certainly want to go back to investigate more. If you have anywhere you would like to recommend, please do not hesitate to comment.
Nasu Santa (13) Nasu Santa (12) Nasu Santa (11)