Originally a German celebration dating back to the Middle Ages, Christmas markets are a tradition that has continued to the present day and is now enjoyed by many other countries around the world. The markets usually feature hearty food, both warm and cold drinks, handcrafted gifts, and Christmas decorations available in numerous booths and small shops. Christmas markets are one of the most popular foreign traditions that Japan has adopted for the holidays. GoConnect visited this year’s Christmas Market in Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse event and this is how it went.
To get to the event, one of the closest stations on the JR lines is Sakuragicho Station. In order to get the best scenery on the way to the event venue, you should try to get here around dusk at 4:30pm. Upon arrival, it is best to head east towards the nearby Minato Mirai area. There are two ways to reach the event space from here. One way is to use the Yokohama Air Cabin cable car system, which will take you across the bay in your own personal car.
The more affordable way is to cross the intersection and use the bridge that spans the bay and leads to Yokohama World Porters and the large Ferris wheel, Yokohama Cosmo Clock 21. This bridge is actually the remainder of an old railway bridge made by the United States. You can still see the shape of the tracks on the ground and the supports above.
Cross Night Illumination
Once you make it to the other side of the bay, you will notice a hexagonal, illuminated gate. This is part of a series of gates in an illumination called Yokohama Cross Night Illumination, which is found next to Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse and serves as a good landmark to use on your way to the Christmas market. The illumination show features several large domes that change colors between various blues and greens as you walk under them. The lights are active every 30 minutes, so they can be enjoyed on the way home as well.
The entrance to the Christmas market takes the shape of a large white gift box with a red bow. It will be illuminated with “Christmas Market” in bright letters if you go once the sun goes down. Entry is free with a simple temperature check and alcohol sanitization on all weekdays until December 23. On weekends, and December 24, entry will cost ¥300 and you need to reserve your tickets on Peatix.
Inside the Market
Once you have made it through the gate, you will be greeted by all the vendors and cheery string lights. There is an interesting mix of decorative goods and gift shops. The market has everything from teddy bears and Russian nesting dolls to wreaths and Polish pottery. If you are missing any holiday decorations or need to do some last-minute gift shopping, you may be able to get it all done all in one trip.
Past all of the booths, you will find the busier food stall section. There are nearly as many food stalls as there are booths, which means you won’t have to wait in the same long queue as every other visitor. Most stalls have some standard offerings like Japanese beer and French fries, but if you want to be festive, try the hot wine, sausages, and churros. There are non-alcoholic drinks as well, such as hot orange juice or hot chocolate. Some stalls have special snacks like cheese platters and beef stew, so taking a lap to see all the available choices is recommended. There are personal seating areas and general seating areas that you can use, depending on how much space you need.
Finally, you will arrive at the large Christmas tree. Because this is an outdoor event, the sheer height of the tree will surpass most of what you are likely to see anywhere in Tokyo or Yokohama. It’s beautifully and softly illuminated, so it lends itself well to picturesーeven at nighttime. If you didn’t bring your own camera, don’t panic. There are photographers ready at the venue ready to take your picture, too. With all of the visitors’ faces illuminated by the Christmas lights, there is a very nice winter holiday atmosphere.
Overall, there is a lot of fun to be had at the Christmas Market in Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse 2021. Whether you go alone, with friends, your partner, or with your family, everyone can have a good time. While it’s easy to become too busy during this time, it’s important to remember to celebrate the holiday season, and this is one of the best ways to do so in Japan.