A Santa Festival of sorts – 200 Santa on the loose in Tokorozawa, find them for a prize!
Back in 2013 I wrote about the unusual “only in Japan” places you could meet Santa. One of the places on the list was this “Find Santa” event in Tokorozawa which thankfully still exists today. But it has evolved into somewhat of a Santa Festival, although they don’t call it that! But there are Santa impersonators here, there and everywhere! Find 200 Santa on the streets of Tokorozawa! Actually, you don’t have to find all 200, just the ones that are on your bingo card. If you get BINGO you get a small prize. It is a hugely popular event, so much so they prepare 2000 bingo cards, that has been running for more than 10 years in Tokorozawa.
Unfortunately, ever since the pandemic certain elements of this festival are missing. For example, there used to be a Santa Parade, but that doesn’t seem to be on in 2023 and it wasn’t on in 2022 either. Also, there was always a gospel choir – but not since 2019. But there will be live music from 11 am to 3 pm at Waltz, one of the two main venues. In addition, at the other main festival area – Motomachi Community Square – there will be some festival games and stalls with food from 10 am to 4 pm. On the day, they will also open the Akita Residence for viewing.
Find Santa Bingo
To participate you first need to get a participation ticket, without the ticket you can’t buy bingo cards. They are distributed at Motomachi Community Square and / or Waltz Tokorozawa from 11.30 am. They sell the cards from noon. It costs 200 yen for a participation ticket which equals one bingo card. Each person can buy up to a maximum of 4 bingo cards. Proceeds from this, and several other events in the city, go to the Children’s Future Fund. From 2011 until 2019 the proceeds went to Higashimatsushima city in Miyagi Prefecture, that was badly effected by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
Event: Find the Santa サンタを探せ
Date: Saturday December 9th 2023
Time: 10 am to 4 pm
Venue: in the early years this event was held at Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park, but it moved to the Motomachi area ~ Waltz / Tokorozawa Station a few years ago. Motomachi Community Square on Google Maps.
The main event area (with food stalls and live music) is Motomachi Community Square which is about a 15 minute walk from Tokorozawa Station, but you can also pick up a participation ticket and bingo cards at the station. There is coin parking lots in the area.
If you would prefer a meet and greet Santa event, there are several confirmed for 2023. The ones I’ve gotten up on the blog so far (more to come in the coming days):
- Meet Santa and celebrate a Nordic Christmas in 2023
- Santa at the White Christmas Market in Misato City
- Santa and Christmas event info for Lake town Koshigaya
First published in 2013, republished in 2018. Last: December 7th 2022. Last update December 4th 2023.