HOW TO: Find a Christmas tree in Japan

My first Christmas in Japan was spent walking amongst the streets of Tokyo with my husband (then fiance). It was a short trip just over Christmas Eve/Day, but I returned to my apartment a day later with no hint of Christmas anywhere - no tree, no lights, no decorations.

As someone who absolutely loves Christmas, this was rather depressing. The most I got was visiting cities near mine to view the “illuminations” (what they call Christmas/Holiday light displays here in Japan). So the following Christmas I made sure to buy a 150cm artificial tree and some decorations, though I skipped the expensive lights.

Of course, I know not everyone celebrates Christmas, so if not, feel free to ignore this. For those of you who do celebrate and would like to put up a tree in your home, let’s check out some options. And remember, Christmas tree is クリスマスツリー (kurisumasu tsurii) in Japanese.

Fake versus real?

I won’t argue the merits of a fake tree versus a real tree, because I’m assuming you can look that up elsewhere on the Internet. Now, if you want a real tree, your options (in Japan) are rather limited, and most likely expensive (Ikea is the exception). Fake trees are easy to find and range from very cheap to very expensive depending on the size, where you purchase the tree, and whether it comes with a decoration set or not.

Where to find a real/live Christmas tree in Japan

1. Ikea (Japan) - Yes, Ikea does sell real trees, though you must live near an Ikea, or at least within delivery range to buy one. I suppose you could drive hours and hours to get one, if you really wanted to... Trees cost 1,990 yen - height is about 100-120cm, according to the website (see the hyperlink).

2. Military base - If you live near one and know someone, you can buy real trees at the base.

3. Local garden/hardware store - Not all of them will sell live trees, (actually, probably most won't) but it’s quite possible some will. In any case, if they don’t, you can bring home a nice poinsettia instead. Though I have seen some small yellow-greenish potted trees that *sort of* resemble an evergreen tree.

4. Chop down your own - Though I am not sure where you would find one, and I take no responsibility for any illegal activities...

5. Costco - I haven't been to Costco in Japan yet (sadly), but I've heard you can get Christmas trees there. According to some of our commenters, Costco trees are hit and miss. If you live near one and check it out around this time, it's possible they may have them.

6. [Insert your idea here.]

Where to find fake/artificial Christmas trees

Fake trees, or artificial trees, on the other hand, are rather ubiquitous and easy to find.

Your local hardware/home store is quite likely to sell artificial trees, and for rather cheap, though most are usually on the smaller side (100 - 150 cm). However, if you can’t find one there, or don’t wish to carry it home on your bike (though they do come packed up in narrow boxes and sectioned-off pieces), there are plenty more options (and this is by no means a comprehensive list).
*Keep in mind that some trees will come with sets of decorations already, while others will not. Sometimes those without are called “ヌード” (nude). And lights are typically LED lights, and incredibly expensive... so if you want lights, be prepared to fork over the cash. I once was able to find non-LED lights at Loft, though.

1. - There are so many options here - all different types and sizes.

2. Loft - Most of the trees I’ve seen here come with the decorations, but still worth a look.

3. Tokyu Hands - The ones from Tokyu Hands (at least online) also seem to come with a set of ornaments and lights, and they aren’t cheap... Online store and stores in large cities (Tokyo, Nagoya, etc.).

4. Nitori - Online store and stores all over Japan.

If you want even MORE options, go ahead and google クリスマスツリー, armed with your translator if necessary, and see what comes up.

So, if you’ve found a live tree this year (or have in the past), feel free to share where and how you found it in the comments! For those of you who wish to share where you found your fake/artificial tree, please do, with your general location (more help to other readers who might be wondering).

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can order a real tree from

More expensive than Ikea, but they ship anywhere in Japan for free.

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