Santa Tokyo Guide – the Ultimate Santa Guide for the Greater Tokyo area.
Santa Visits in Japan generally start from the end of November. Occasionally you can find a couple of places that Santa visits as early as October, a few more in early November, but the main Santa greeting and photo opportunities are from the middle of December. Please note, for the vast majority of Santa visits in Japan you need to have your own camera with you. There are a couple of places where you can get a professional photo to take home, which is of course listed in the insaitama Santa lists.
Also, with the exception of Finland No Mori in Nasu and the Hilton Odawara in Kanagawa, the Santa locations in the Kanto plain do not have a grotto. A few have a nice set up with the back drop of a Christmas tree, but on the flip side, some of the locations actually don’t even have props. All the pertinent information for each location is included.
Information for Santa visits start to come into me as early as August, but by and large it is only at the end of November that most locations fix a date for their Santa visits. Some only provide the information a day or two before Santa is due to visit. And some don’t provide information online, so you can only get the information here or in their stores.
The Santy locations provided are for Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures, which are all commutable from Tokyo. Combined the area is called Kanto or the Kanto plain. The Kanto prefectures are Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma. Excluding the latter (Gunma), which typically only has one or two locations, you will find at least a dozen locations to visit Santa in each of the other Kanto prefectures.
And there is even one location where you can visit Santa all year round, not just at Christmas...
Santa Tokyo Area
All year round Santa
The Real Santa With a Grotto
You might be a Santa or Christmas fan. Or maybe you would like to see what a Santa visit is like in Japan, but you are in Japan in spring or summer. No fear, there is still an opportunity to meet Santa with this all year round Santa Meet and Greet opportunity in the beautiful Nasu District of Tochigi. Read more….
November Santa in the Tokyo Area
November isn’t a particularly popular time for expats or long term foreigners in Japan to visit Santa, so if you want to get in ahead of the crowds November is actually a good time to visit Santa Claus.
Each year you can visit Santa Claus in the free area of Tokyo Disney Resort “Ikspiari” from mid November on the weekends, public holidays and Christmas Eve / Day. He is called “White Santa” because he is dressed in a stunning white Santa outfit…
Another of the long running Santa meet and greet locations in the greater Tokyo area is the Hilton Odawara in Kanagawa. You can see Santa from as early as the first week of November if you are going to the Christmas buffet there. Even if you are not, they will have a public Santa at least one day in December. Read more…
In previous years other places you could meet Santa in November included:
- Ikea – Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa
Places you can visit Santa in early December in the greater Tokyo area
St Clair, Ochanomizu
Christmas maybe just over, but if you are trying to plan a Christmas time visit to Japan in 2020 or beyond, this might give you an insight into Santa visits in Japan. As soon as dates are received I will of course add them to this guide. However, you can generally take for granted (hopefully not famous last words!) that Santa Claus will be in St Clair in Ochanomizu in early December…
The Premium Outlet Santa visits generally start the first weekend in December. Each of the Premium Outlets gets a visit from Santa Claus including their Kanto locations of Shisui, Ami and Sano, and the Shizuoka branch Gotemba Premium Outlet which is also commutable from Tokyo. Read more…
Mid December to Christmas week
Green Santa, Kanagawa
The vast majority of Santa greetings and photo spots in Japan are on weekends and public holidays only. However, there are a few places you can see Santa on a weekday in the Tokyo area. One of the long running regular weekday Santa locations is the Redbrick Warehouse in Kanagawa.
Alternative ways to see Santa in Tokyo…
Santa Dive Ikebukuro (Tokyo)
There’s another place you can see Santa every year in November; Sunshine City Aquarium. This one is not a meet and greet though, its just for viewing Santa as he swims with the wildlife in the aquarium from mid November every year. Read more…
This is a summary of Santa locations you can depend on (again, hopefully not famous last words!). They are long running Santa photo / meet and greet locations that are part and parcel of Christmas in Japan. Other locations that don’t have as regular annual dates as those listed above, will be added to the insaitama.com blog from the end of October. I will link them in this post at that time too.
Insaitama.com has been providing information on when and where you can visit Santa Claus in the greater Tokyo area since 2015. It was the first, and for sometime, the only site that provided information in English. Since about 2017 other websites now also share Santa meet and greet information, but insaitama continues to have the longest and most comprehensive list available on line. In 2019, there was over a 130 Santa photo and / or greeting locations listed for Tokyo and surrounding prefectures.