Sunshine City Christmas

Sunshine City Christmas ~ an annual winter event at Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. This is not a Santa greeting / visit, but you can see Santa every year in the Sunshine Aquarium from mid November. The event is currently scheduled to go ahead in spite of the pandemic. However, there are significant changes to a usual year. Information and dates included below.

Sunshine City Christmas

The theme of the 2020 Sunshine City Christmas is “Sunshine City 2020 Christmas is Coming”.

From mid November until Christmas Day annually Sunshine City in Ikebukuro have a Christmas City. However, in 2020 on account of the Coronavirus the start date is at the later date of November 26th. Normally, each year there are various events planned for the city, including the ever popular Santa Dive, an alternative way to see Santa in Japan. This will go ahead but for two days only and some events have been cut in 2020:

Sunshine Aquarium Christmas

The Sunshine Aquarium in Ikebukuro are running a number of Christmas events. Some are covered by the regular cost of the entrance into Sunshine Aquarium, but some require an additional fee. During the Christmas period they have illumination and a teddy bear Christmas tree!

Santa Dive

from the official website

One of the special events covered by the standard admission price to the aquarium is the Santa Dive. This is a special show with Santa and his reindeers, where you can see Santa in the aquarium. It is usually held daily at 11.30am, 1 pm and 4 pm for 10 minutes each time. From the 21st to the 25th they have an additional showing at 6.30 pm. However, in 2020, on account of the Coronavirus, the Santa Dive is limited to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Twilight Lagoon Performance

Also, covered by the general admission normally there is a special “twilight lagoon” on December 1st, 6th to 8th, 13th to 15th (dates for 2020 yet to be confirmed) and from the 20th to 25th. A mermaid performs to music and a light show. Each day from 5.30 pm for about ten minutes. However, in 2020 this event is not scheduled.

Pingu photo spot

There is a Christmas version pingu photo spot available during the Christmas season in the aquarium.

Otter greeting

Sunshine City Christmas

Meet a performing otter in his santa sleigh at 2.45 pm daily! Unfortunately, but understandably the otter greeting is not happening in 2020. However, they have planned a special performance by the otters on Christmas eve and Christmas day. They will be presented with Christmas ice cakes on these days.

Special surprises

They haven’t given a schedule for other Christmas events during the season. However, they have said there will surprise performances during the period. For example, the sea lions will be donned in Christmas accessories.


In the marine garden 7500 bulbs are used for an illumination display that is turned on daily at 4 pm. The marine garden’s “Penguins in the Sky” aquarium will be in rainbow colors. Also, the new attraction “Jellyfish Panorama” will be lit up in Christmas colors on Christmas eve and Christmas day.

Teddy Bear Christmas Tree

The Sunshine City Aquarium uses teddy bears in their 2020 Christmas tree.

Other (non Christmas) events

Another event running at the aquarium during the period the Christmas event is on, is the “Zannen na Ikimono” or “Unfortunate creatures”.

Sunshine City Events

Within the main mall there are also Christmas decorations and some events scheduled. For example the Christmas market from December 18th to 20th. They will add more events to the main Christmas page as the date draws closer. Currently all they have up is information about the World Box tree and advent calendar.

Aquarium Entry Fees and Times

Sunshine City 2020 Christmas is Coming starts a little later than normal this year, on Thursday November 26th to Christmas Day December 25th.

Hours: Winter hours – 10 am to 6 pm. (Till 9 pm on Christmas eve and Christmas day).
Price: 2200 yen for adults, 1200 yen for students, 700 yen for preschoolers, free for under 3.
Tickets can be bought in advance in most convenience stores.

URL: Sunshine City Aquarium Website

The only other places with a confirmed Santa Claus visit at this moment in time (November 11th 2020) is Santa Hills and Moose Family Camp Resort, both in Tochigi.

First published in 2015, updated annually and republished on October 3rd 2019. The information was accurate and up-to-date to the best of my knowledge at the time of publishing.


    1. Author

      Thank you so much for commenting. I know its very early for Santa, but its nice to know these things in advance. 🙂

      1. Hi Elle, considering the crowds that often occur at these events? It’s better to plan ahead to be able to avoid them.

        It is a good event recommendation, thanks.

        1. Hi Ozburger, The closer it gets to Christmas I think the busier it gets. And its usually busier in the afternoon than morning – but there’s more to see in the afternoon.
          Thanks again for commenting 💞

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