When I was growing up in Ireland, Santa had a grotto in various shopping centres and department stores that he would visit on the run up to Christmas. In Japan, this is not the case. Usually, Santa visits preschools and/or community centres for a one off event. However, he also visits the most random of places in the strangest of ways. Here are some fun ways you can see/ meet Santa in Japan. My favourite has to be the Santa that visits Echizen Matsushima Aquarium in Fukui. Not only does Santa and his reindeer deliver a Christmas tree into one of the tanks in November, he also plays janken (rock – paper – scissors) from the tank with spectators the week of Christmas and even helps with the dolphin show the lead up to Christmas. Santa will deliver the Christmas tree with his reindeer on the 22nd of November this year, 2013. The rock – paper – scissors event takes place December 21st to 25th. The Santa dolphin show runs from December 7th to 25th. For prices, directions, show times and further details please visit the aquarium website at; http://www.echizen-aquarium.com/ Last year, another place you could see scuba diving Santa was at the Osaka aquarium kaiyukan. I am sure due to the popularity of the event and the attention it received they will run it again this year. You could see Santa swimming in one of the tanks and feeding some of the fish. In my own prefecture of Saitama, the city of Tokorozawa holds a “Find Santa” event. This year it will be on December 14th at the aviation park. 100 Santa gather for the children to meet and then parade around the town. More information for this year will be available in the coming weeks on the Tokorozawa events page http://www.snw.co.jp/~machizou/ I am still on a quest to find more quirky places to see Santa and over the coming weeks I plan to provide more information on places you can meet Santa in the Kanto area of Japan. Stay tuned! Have you anywhere you can add to the list of fun places to see Santa in Japan? I’d love to hear them.