I was first introduced to the German Christmas market about ten years ago in Leeds and I can honestly say that it increased my love for the season.
I mean what’s not to love about oversized bratwursts, the oversized beer inside ridiculously oversized beer steins, baileys hot chocolate with cream, mulled wine, giant pretzels, the list goes on.
I was a regular of the German Christmas market. Every year, as soon as I would see the market being erected I would start planning my food and booze-filled festive night out.
Unfortunately, last year (having just moved to Japan) I was stressed, busy, had no idea where anything was, and after getting everything lined up with accommodation and whatnot, broke.
This year, however, was very different! Not only was I going to go to the Christmas market but I was also going to go to the three most talked about, and give my honest opinion about which one is best and maybe discover a new Christmas haunt for myself.
Yebisu Garden Place Christmas Market
The Yebisu Garden’s Christmas market was a massive let down. Don’t get me wrong, Yebisu is a beautiful place especially at Christmas time because the whole area is lit up like, well, (forgive me for this) a Christmas tree. The giant shopping mall, the big red building with shops and restaurants, the europian style buildings and of course the gardens themselves add to the awe of the location.
The Christmas Market however, was a few wooden sheds selling Christmas themed knickknacks and a big (very impressive) Christmas tree. Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Yebisu Garden Christmas Market is a place to go to take pictures. Quite frankly, I don’t actually think that it should be classed as a Christmas market. It’s more like a Christmas lights show.
Roppongi Christmas Market
Now we’re talking! Inside the giant shopping mall is a huge room filled with Christmas stalls. Food, drinks, toys, snow globes, nutcrackers. It is everything a german Christmas market should be. A direct quote from the website itself boasts “a Christmas Market that will be bringing you a total of 11 stores offering over 2,000 original German Christmas goods, as well as Glühwein (mulled wine), sausages, and other authentic German dishes.”
Just one problem, the room regularly sees no less than seven million people per season which makes the whole Christmas market experience more like a moshpit, with sausages.
Needless to say, great experience, but I’ll take my pretzel’s in a place where I’m not being tackled by people fighting to sit down and having to dive out of the way of pissed off patrons trying to take a picture of whatever it is I’m standing in front of.
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
I love Yokohama, can’t say enough good things about it. You could argue that this whole website is propaganda for Yokohama.
The Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse is by far the best! Even better than my beloved Leeds Christmas Market. Before you even get to the market itself you are treated to the lights of Yokohama then to the Christmas lights that light the way to a huge ice rink.
If I could give you one piece of advice it would be this, bring your appetite! Not only do they have all the usual suspects such as nuts, churros, pretzels, and bratwursts, but they have them in abundance! Plates full of Bratwursts! Big bowls of fries, huge buttered pretzels! Also, remember that you are still in fact in Japan so crab, clam chowder, and other “Christmas seafood” aren’t amiss.
I have tried to be critical about Yokohama’s Red Brick Warehouse. However, of the three Christmas markets I have been to, Yokohama was head and shoulders above the rest! If you’re ever in Japan at Christmas time and fancy saying hello, this is where you’ll find me.