10 santa claus in a row!

This Santa Claus post was written specifically for 2021, which was during the pandemic. At that time, there were very few places you could visit Santa Claus. In 2022, there were many more places, but still not back to ‘normal’. Regrettably, in 2023, the amount of places you can visit Santa is still not back to pre-pandemic levels, but there is more than 2022 and 2021 combined. I may not be able to do the usual Kanto round up of places to visit Santa Claus in 2023, but I am sharing all the places you can visit Santa Claus in Saitama Prefecture this year. You can find them in one central place – on the December event round up. Here are a few as an example:

Update: seen as this post is getting a lot of traffic, even though its out of date, I decided to put together a quick list for 2023 with 25 places you can meet Santa Claus in the Greater Tokyo area this weekend:

Places you can meet Santa Claus during the pandemic

Santa Claus is coming to the Greater Tokyo area in December 2021. However, due to the pandemic, he can only make a few public appearances this year. This article contains a selection of ten places you can meet and greet Santa in 2021 and / or get your photo taken with him, around the Kanto Plain. Below the main ten, there are also further suggestions of how to meet or see Santa Claus this year. The Kanto Plain / Greater Tokyo area incorporates Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi. However, I was not able to find a Santa Claus meet and greet in Ibaraki in 2021. On the flip side, Shizuoka isn’t officially in the Kanto plain, but I have included one location in Shizuoka where you can meet Santy this year.

For those who are new to this blog and / or new to Japan, please note that Santa visits in Japan are very different to how it is done in many other countries. For one, Santa Claus rarely gives a present in Japan. When he does, it is generally just a candy! There are some places, generally hotels or campsites, where you can organize for Santa to give your child a present, but you need to bring it yourself. The only place we’ve ever received a present for free from Santa is Santa Hills. It is just a small present, but a very nice one. Another difference is that generally Santa isn’t in a grotto, just in front of a tree, or even more randomly, walking around a mall! There are exceptions, which are outlined in this list below.

Santa in 2022

1. The Real Santa in Tochigi!

Finland no mori Santa Claus
Finland No mori Santa Claus, taken around 2017 / 2018 on one of our many pilgrimages to meet him over the years!

Actually there are two places you can see the real Santa in Tochigi Prefecture. However, only one of them is open to the general public. You can meet the real Santa Claus in Finland no Mori in Nasu. Of all the places we’ve visited Santa in Japan over the years, Finland No Mori remains my family’s favorite. Furthermore, this is one place where Santa is normally in a proper grotto. Moreover, he gives each child a certificate of good behavior! In addition, its a nice quirky place to visit with a hammock cafe and a Santa wood. You can see everything on offer at the location in this post here.

Location: Finland no Mori, Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture
Dates: Sunday December 12th, Saturday December 18th, Sunday December 19th, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Sunday December 26th 2021. Each day except Christmas day he will visit twice at noon and again at 2 pm. Each time for an hour. On Christmas Day he will just visit the once – at noon.
Conditions: you need to have a ticket to see Santa Claus. You can get a ticket by purchasing more than 2000 yen worth of food or goods, on the day, at the cafes or shops within Finland No Mori.
Official website. Even more information in English.

2. Santa in the heart of Tokyo during the pandemic

Santa Claus will be back in Tokyo Dome City this year. He was unable to visit last year due to the pandemic. Santa Claus will visit Tokyo Dome City on December 18th, 19th, Christmas eve and Christmas day in 2021. Each day he will visit twice. This year, it is a parade type event. Children are welcome to don an elves hat and parade around a dedicated area with Santa Claus. There will be a parade at 2 pm and 5 pm on the days that Santy is visiting. The 2pm parade is on the first floor of LaQua. In addition, at 5 pm there is a parade is at the Meets Port Garden. You can also get a commemoration photo with Santa during the parades. During the first parade the Santa photo will be at the first floor Christmas tree. In the Meets Port garden there is a dedicated photo spot during the second parade.

Location: Tokyo Dome City
Dates: Saturday December 18th, Sunday the 19th, Christmas Eve Friday December 24th and Christmas Day Saturday December 25th 2021. Each day he will visit at 2 pm and again 5 pm.
Conditions: currently none specified.
Official website. If you are visiting, be sure to check out these places of interest to kids.

3. Santa Claus at Japan’s largest mall during the pandemic

Santa Claus will visit Japan’s largest mall, Aeon Lake Town, in Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture, on both Christmas Eve and Christmas day. The mall also has a few other Christmas events on. For example, from Friday December 10th to Monday December 13th they have a Christmas market. But unfortunately it looks like for the second year in a row they will not have their popular seasonal outdoor rink. If this changes, I will update the post accordingly.

Location:  First floor Mizu no Hiroba in the Mori Mall of Aeon Lake Town, Koshigaya
Dates: Christmas Eve Friday December 24th and Christmas Day Saturday December 25th 2021 at  (1) 11: 00-11: 45 (2) 13: 00-13: 45 (3) 14: 00-14: 45 (4) 15: 00-15: 45 (5) 16: 00-16 : 45
Conditions: Only AEON MALL app members can participate for free. You need to have downloaded the AEON MALL app and registered “AEON Lake Town mori” as a favorite to participate for free. (* Registration on the day is also possible.) Moreover, the event is limited to the first 100 pairs each day (20 pairs on a first-come, first-served basis). Numbered tickets will be distributed at the venue from 30 minutes before the start of each session.
Official event flyer.

2023 information.

4. Another place for Santy in Saitama

Santa Claus will also visit another mall in Saitama Prefecture. Mallage Shobu in Kuki City is one of Santa’s annual stops on his Saitama tour. This year, 2021, he will visit Mallage Shobu on Christmas day. He will be at the “Taki no Court” area. You have to have one of 150 tickets to see him. They will start distributing the tickets at 10 am. The mall also has a beautiful Christmas tree.

Location: Taki no Court on the first floor of Mallage Shobu mall in Kuki City
Christmas Day (2021) only at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm.
This is a free event with no conditions, but it is limited to 150 families. You have to have your own camera with you and take the picture yourself.
Official website.

2023 information.

Santa Claus will also visit Kawaguchi City in Saitama Prefecture twice in 2021. Information for those meet and greets here.

5. Santa at Lalaport during the pandemic

Father Christmas often visits various branches of Lalaport, but unfortunately this year he will only be able to manage a handful of them. One of them is in the Kanto plain, at the Ebina branch of Lalaport. He will see a total of 100 kids over four time slots on the 18th. Santa Claus will give participants a sweet and you can get your photo taken with Santa Claus. This is a free event.

Location: 4th floor of Ebina Lalaport at Ebicen Flatto.
Saturday December 18th at 11 am, 12.15 pm, 2 pm and 3.15 pm
Restricted to Lalaport Kids Club App members only. It is very easy to become a Lalaport Kids Club member. Moreover, its free to join.
Official website.

6. Another location in Kanagawa

Santa Claus will also be stopping off at Housquare in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture, while he’s on his rounds of the Greater Tokyo Area. Its one of his usual stop off points when he is in Japan! Housquare is a housing exhibition park. It is one of the larger ones with several annual events, including other Christmas events. Santa arrives in an unusual mode of transport! He gives the kids a sweet and you can get your photo with him. There is also a Christmas bingo with prizes.

Location: Housquare in Yokohama, Kanagawa
Saturday December 18th and Christmas day at 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. Each time he visits for about 30 minutes. Bingo is at 2 pm.
This is a free event, but you are required to fill out a questionnaire to participate. They have also said that there is a possibility of last minute changes or even a cancellation depending on the situation with the Coronavirus. You can check their official website (below) for the most up-to-date information.
Official website

Santa Claus Believe

7. Santa and… Caribbean music!

Mori Town in Tokyo are offering customers a very “Morry” Christmas with lots of Christmas events this year. Including a visit from the big man himself. Santa Claus will visit Mori Town for a Christmas party on Christmas day. Santy will walk around the mall giving presents to little ones to traditional music from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago played on steelpan drums!

Location: East building “Sora no Michi” of Mori Town, Akishima, Tokyo
Saturday December 25th at 11.30 am and 1 pm. He will also visit the restaurant street at 3 pm.
None specified except to wear a mask and respect social distancing, which should go without saying for all locations!
Official website.

8. Insta bae Santa!

Atre in Matsudo, Chiba prefecture, are offering JRE members who are also following them on Instagram also, the chance to meet Santa Claus in 2021. He will be at Atre on Saturday December 18th for that Insta bae photo op! Atre in Matsudo have various different Christmas events on this year as well as night illumination.

Location: The third floor Irodori Stage of Atre in Matsudo, Chiba.
Saturday December 18th at at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm.
You have to be a JRE Point Member and you need to be following Atre Matsudo on Instagram. He will only visit 30 people each time. You will be required to have your temperature checked before you meet Santa Claus.
Official website.

9. Shizuoka Santa

I wouldn’t normally include Shizuoka in a “Greater Tokyo Area” round up, but these are exceptional times! For many years this was the situation annually – that there were so few places you could see Santa in Japan that you could write them in one round up. But since around 2015 the number of places you could see Santa Claus multiplied exponentially. In 2019, I had 190 places to visit a public Santa Claus in just the Greater Tokyo area on this blog. This year I struggled to find ten!

Location: At the first floor “Hikari no Hiroba” of the Numazu Lalaport, Shizuoka
Saturday December 18th at 11 am, 1.30 pm and 3.30 pm.
Restricted to Lalaport Kids Club App members only. It is very easy to become a Lalaport Kids Club member. Moreover, its free to join.
Official website.

10. Another mall Santa!

Aeon Mall features again. This time a branch in Chiba Prefecture. Santa Claus will be visiting the Aeon Marinpia on Christmas Day. You can get your photo with Santa Claus and he will be giving children a sweet each. This event is limited to the first 60 families, first come, first served. On the same day there will also be a maze for children. The event will not go ahead if there is stormy weather or if there is any change for the worse in the Coronavirus situation.

Location: the outdoor community ‘hiroba’ of Aeon Marinpia in Chiba City.
Dates: Christmas Day at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm.
Conditions: You need to have a receipt of purchases of more than 500 yen bought in Aeon Marinpia on Christmas Day.
Official website

Other ways to meet Santa in 2021

Another place you can visit Santa in Tokyo is at Across Mall Hachioji on December 18th and 19th. Official event page here (Japanese language). And in Chiba he will also visit the Ario in Ichihara on December 18th. Official event web page here. In addition, he will be at the Aeon in Narita on Sunday December 19th. Official website here.

There are a few other places you can meet Santa Claus if you are prepared to pay. For example, Tokyo Global Gateway will have a Santa event on December 19th. A one day pass to Tokyo Global Gateway costs 7,700 yen! If you are going to be in Minakami or Karuizawa for skiing, you might find Santa on the slopes! Santy generally takes a break to enjoy the slopes at Minakami for a few days coming up to Christmas! And this year it looks like he’ll be visiting Karuizawa too. He’s always happy to get a photo with customers.

The safest way to ensure a Santa visit in 2021 is to stay in a hotel or campsite with the service. There are plenty of places around the Kanto plain that offer a Santa visit to guests of their accommodation. For example, the real Santa visits Moose Family Camp Resort a couple of times during the season. At Santa Hills it is Christmas all year round, but Santa comes to visit guests of the resort during the month of December. Most of the large four + star hotels in Tokyo also have a Santa visit during the season. For example, the Hotel New Otani have always been great for Santa events. It is much easier to find a hotel with a Santa visit included than it is to find a free public Santa. It is such a magical event for children… I really hope you get to visit Santa this year. Merry Christmas.


    1. Author

      …and gone, that’s how long it took me to respond!! Christmas has been and gone!

  1. Quite a nice list, and not just Saitama.

    1. Author

      And thank you for commenting. Sorry it took me so long to respond. I hope you had a great Christmas.

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