Tokyo Christmas Market

Nothing gets me more into the spirit of the holidays than Christmas Markets. I spent several years in Europe, and now Christmas just isn’t Christmas without the taste of warm, spiced glühwein and marzipan filled stöllen. Luckily, you can get both, and festive, Yuletide cheer, in Tokyo!

There are several Christmas markets scattered throughout the city, but my absolute favorite is the Tokyo Christmas Market in Hibiya Park. I visit every year on Christmas Eve. My friends and I meet at Hibiya Park donning our most cheery Christmas sweaters to sample every flavor of glühwein available (there are many), browse and buy handmade crafts, and eat way too much.

The market surrounds the fountain of Hibiya Park. More than a dozen traditional wooden huts offer visitors a variety of tempting German fare and one-of-a-kind ornaments. Christmas music plays in the background. A stunning 14-meter Christmas Pyramid brought in from Germany twirls slowly. And musical guests entertain the crowds inside a large-ish tent. All together, it creates a perfect holiday vibe. 🎄♥️🎅🏼✨

The mulled wine and hot cocoa are served in little mugs with the market’s logo on them. You have to pay a deposit for the drinks (¥1000) because of them. You get your money back when you return the cup, but I like to keep them. They come in different shapes and colors and have the year on the design.

Admission to Tokyo Christmas Market is free. It started December 14th and opens daily from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm every day through Christmas day. To get there, take the metro to Hibiya Station and leave the station through Exit A14. Just make sure you dress warmly; it gets cold. 🥶

My Five Travel Must-haves

My packing list tends to vary by location and season. If there’s a beach or pool, I pack my bikini. If there are mountains and snow, I bring my gloves and a big coat. But there are a few things I never leave home without. My passport, medicines (headache and cold stuff) and sneakers go without saying, so I’m skipping those. But these five things I absolutely need!

1. Journal

I never travel anywhere without it. Ever. I typically don’t have time while I’m traveling to make full entries. But I use it to jot down notes, the names of places, lessons learned, itineraries, etc. I also tape ticket stubs, receipts and sometimes even napkins on the pages (yes, I’m sentimental like that). It helps me remember my adventures better. And it’s always fun to go back and read it after time has passed.

2. Headphones (and iPhone)

I never leave home without them; it doesn’t matter how far I’m going. Listening to music helps drown out noise during flights, but also I like to create soundtracks for my trips. I know. It’s a little weird. But songs and smells trigger my memory more than anything else, and I really love hearing a song and having it transport me to the places I’ve been and remind me of my adventures.

3. Camera(s)

Duh! The camera I take depends on where I am going, how I’m getting there, and how long my trip is going to be. Sometimes I take my GoPro. Others I take my Nikon. Or sometimes even my Pentax. I always have my phone, though (unless I lose it mid-trip–yes, it’s happened), and the camera on it is pretty decent. having a way to capture my travels is crucial.

4. Skincare (Gotta have it!)

First, sunscreen. I very rarely burn. But I never want to. So I always pack my sunscreen–especially the stuff for my face. I use Kiehl’s Super Fluid Daily UV Defense. It’s lightweight and has SPF 50. And my face stays burn free. Second, moisturizers. I find my skin gets really dry when I travel, especially when I go on long trips. So I always make sure I pack moisturizer for my face and body and eye cream (Keihl’s Rosa Artica face and eye cream and coconut oil for my body). I also pack a few moisture-mask sheets. This stuff keeps down skin irritation for me, and there’s nothing worse than going on vacations and feeling itchy, irritated or uncomfortable.

5. Rosebud Salve

Lastly, I can’t live without my Rosebud. It’s not just a must-have for travel; for me, it’s an everyday essential. It helps with dry skin, soothes burns, and even treats diaper rash. I mostly just use it as a lip balm, but I never leave home without it.