Little Bavaria comes to Tokyo in Roppongi Hills Christmas Market
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Here in Tokyo, the Tokyoites do as the Germans do, at least for Christmas.
For the eighth year, the Christmas Market in Oyane Plaza remains the heart of the Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas.
The six little shops that make up the covered outdoor market sell authentic German Christmas decorations for local shoppers to adorn their windows. Shoppers can also stop by the food booths for sausages, soups, beer and other German favorites.
The most eye-catching of the setup is of course the over-the-top German inspiration, as if you’ve stepped onto the set of a Christmas movie. Reindeer parade over the market, ugly Christmas sweaters are fashioned by the merchants and words with umlauts and essets are loosely translated with Japanese kana. Add in some tuba players in lederhosen for good measure, and the downtown area could have a potential PR crisis in political correctness.
The market is open through Christmas Day and is just one part of the Tokyo Christmas scene.
The main street is covered end to end in Christmas lights, a Tim Burton-collaborated Christmas Tree is on display and the Mohri Garden and Roku Roku Plaza boast their own illuminations. To top all of this off, the views can be enjoyed from Whisky Hills, which as the name implies, is the perfect spot to check out the area while sipping on some of the finest whiskies in the world. Most of these activities are all open through Christmas Day.
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Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas market
Directions: The market is at Oyane Plaza in Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills. As parking is expensive and limited in this area, public transportation is encouraged. From Shinjuku Station, board either the Oedo Line for Roppongi/Daimon or the Nanboku Line for Hiyoshi and get off at Roppongi Station. Roppongi Hills is about a 10-minute walk and has many English-speaking customer service representatives at the information kiosks. Alternatively, free parking might be available at Hardy Barracks on a first-come, first-serve basis. Hardy Barracks is about a 20-minute walk from Roppongi Hills.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Dec. 25.
Cost: Walking and looking is free, food and drinks must be purchased.
Food and drink: Eats include German sausage, schnitzel, soup, hot dogs, goulash, pretzels, German bread and Viennese cake. Drinks include beer and hot spiced wine.
What’s for sale: What you’d expect at a real German market, including ornaments, Christmas pyramids, holiday apparel and pottery.
Website: For information partly in English and a map of the market, see www.tinyurl.com.rhmarket