However, in Japan, many young people enjoy heading into town at Christmas, couples enjoy romantic dinners with champagne, and while there are no fireworks, there are lots of Christmas decorations and Christmas lights, which the Japanese call ‘illumination’. It’s a popular and joyous time even though only a small percentage of folks believe in Christianity.
New Year’s Eve on the other hand is spent with family, and is a relatively quiet period. It’s a custom for most Japanese people to return to their hometowns at this time of year, go to the local temple or shrine, ring the temple bell (in the Buddhist tradition), and many watch special New Year’s TV shows together at home.
New Year’s Day is a time for indulging in special foods, called ‘Osechi Ryori’, which often takes many days to prepare.