Trip to Osaka: The German Christmas market - Adventures of Anette

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Trip to Osaka: The German Christmas market

We are getting close to Christmas, and at the same time it is also getting colder and colder these days.
Since I'm from Norway I guess I am supposed to be used to cold weather, but to be honest I have never really been a fan of low temperatures.
The truth is that even though it is not really not that cold when you are outside in Japan, the Japanese houses are a different case. My apartment, for instance, gets so cold I sometimes wear a jacket when I'm inside. But than again, I found the low temperatures being a good reason to invite some friends on a trip to Spa World, which is a huge sentou and pool-complex in Osaka I have written about it before on this page. I really do love Spa World, and spending the day here again was just as fun as ever. 100% relaxation! Probably my forth or fifth time visiting, and if they continue their 1000-yen campaign in January I will come back then.

For this time, however, I have decided to concentrate upon our activities in the evening; on our way home from Spa World we also did a detour visiting the German Christmas market. This market is held annually in Umeda at the Shin Umeda City Wonder square, which is partly situated underneath the Umeda Sky Building. 
"Welcome to the Christmas market"!
The market is held every year in Osaka, and even though Japan is not a Christian country is certainly is popular not only among the tourists, but also among the Japanese people. The Japanese likes festivals and fun, and in addition to Christmas they also has adopted American traditions such as Valentines day and Halloween, at least to a certain extent. Parts of the Western Christmas tradition really seems appealing to the Japanese, and it came as no surprise to me that the place was totally crammed with people wanting to get a taste of a close-to-European Christmas.
The German Christmas market has among other attractions a big merry-go-round.
Kids riding the merry-go-round
A huge Christmas tree underneath the Umeda Sky Building
They do have a lot of Christmassy attractions: A big merry-go-round, a small train for the kids to ride, artists singing Christmas songs and a stable where you can see baby Jesus in his crib surrounded by the Wise Men. And not to mention all the stuff you can buy, most of it being terribly overpriced. A piece of gingerbread cookie costs for instance 600 yen, and if you want a small cup of the German glühwein (a type of mulled wine) it would cost you 900 yen.
You can get your hands on German Glühwein at the Christmas market. It is however not particularly cheap..
In one of the small houses you can see the staff making gingerbread cookies!
A cute Christmas house
The cookies are adorable, but their prices are not.. One cookie costs 600 yen..
One of the Christmas cookie shops
Many of the people selling candies and other Christmas items are Westerners. However, even though it is supposed to be a German Christmas market that does not mean that the vendors are German. My friends Stephan, who is German, said to one of the staff selling German food that they had a really nice shop in German, but he was totally ignored my the vendor. Oh well, I guess it might be hard to come by enough authentic Germans who wants to work at the Christmas market in Japan..?

A guy selling German beer
Kids ready for a trip with the Spanish train "El paso" in the German Christmas market..
The Christmas tree is situated directly under the Umeda Sky Building
Baby Jesus in his crib
In Japan it is usual to leave money at the shrines; it is supposed to bring luck. I suppose that is why they have thrown money at baby Jesus?! Haha..
Neon-light Christmas
Small houses being sold at the Christmas market
Some more Christmas souvenirs that probably will make great gifts
Group picture time!
This is probably more or less the closest thing you can come to a European Christmas setting while in Japan, and personally I do think the market was very pretty. However, beware that it is somehow over commercialized, and that you might prefer actually making your own gingerbread cookie rather than buying it here. Anyway, the Christmas market is open every day until the 25th of December, so you still do have the chance to go there and hopefully feel a little bit of the Christmas spirit.!

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who'd gladly trade a trip to the shoppingmall for a hike in the forest any day.

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Adventures ofAnette


The classical story about a girl who went for a one-year exchange program to Japan, fell in love and got stuck there. Starting out as a student in Kyoto in 2010 I now work full-time in Tokyo as a hotel consultant, and write mostly about my travels, working life in Japan as well as a bunch of random stuff.
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