In Japan Christmas is as commercial as it comes. There isn’t an inkling of religiosity for the Christian holiday here, just twinkling lights, Christmas trees and KFC (I kid you not). Japan ironically is also one of the nicest countries to have a jolly Christmas - the weather is right, the streets are stupendously festive and restaurants pull no stops to dish out the ultimate holiday feasts. Here are 5 spots in Osaka to indulge over the jolliest time of the year. (all visuals by respective hotels)
The St Regis Bar
The St Regis Osaka
The St Regis Osaka is one of the city’s most classically attuned hotels accoutered with fireplaces and gentleman’s bar and at Christmas time its halls are quite literally decked with baubles, pines and jollies. For a sense of festive sophistication, a visit to the elegant St Regis Bar with specially concocted holiday cocktails and traditional grubs will do the trick to satiate one’s pining for good old fashion holiday traditions away from home. Festive afternoon teas in the bar’s elegant festive milieu would also be a great lead-up to Christmas in the city.
Centara Grand Osaka
Thai hospitality brand Centara has landed in Japan and in Osaka one can indulge in restorative massages and reinvigorating foot rubs to get into the holiday mode at its Spa Cenvaree. The therapists here are all meticulously trained in proper massage techniques and can deliver really deft strokes to melt away those holiday tensions. Centara Grand Osaka also has a few fabulous restaurants, and whether it is crabs at Embassy of Crab or wagyu cuts at WhiskeyNova, these festive pit stops all feature decadent holiday menus this Christmas.
Intercontinental Osaka was raised within the city’s Umeda ward which can appear rather quiet over the weekends but this is one of IHG’s most impressive hotels in Japan with splendid suite, a great club lounge and several good restaurants. The wonderful 1-star Michelin French restaurant Pierre is complemented by a great bar Adee next to it. Pierre serves seasonal menus that are distinctively French with Japanese accents injected for good measure. For the Christmas period, there will be holiday menus in place. In case you are a teetotaller, the restaurant offers a range of premium grape juice made from the Merlot, Cabernet and Rose varieties that are really gummy yummy.
voco Osaka Central
Newly opened voco Osaka Central is situated between the Higobashi and Honmachi stations in Osaka and is close to attractions like Dotonburi and Midosuji Road, which have rows of handsome ginkgo trees that are beautifully illuminated in December. The area is a charming residential enclave with a pretty rose garden and great restaurants nearby. voco Osaka was once a beer building and many facets of its past have been melded with the present building. It is a vibrant fun place, and its LoKal House restaurant serving casual but premium Italian cuisine is a great spot to have spirited feasting sessions with friends and loved ones.
JW Marriott Nara
If deer are an integral part of the Christmas line-up, then Nara is quite the spot to visit with its famous deer park circulating with oh so many deer. Only 45 mins away from Osaka and close to heritage attractions which include the magnificent Todai Ji is the JW Marriott hotel, the only JW Marriott hotel in Japan. So serious is its holiday getup that all its suites feature lighted, decorated Christmas trees. Besides deer and trees, the hotel is also marking the yuletide season with a string of festive gourmet promotions. The star culinary attractions here are nonetheless its teppanyaki and Kaiseki profferings at Azekura, lovingly prepared by masterclass chefs. A couple of tipple at its Flying Stag bar will also prove to be particularly jolly amidst all the twinkling trinkets this Christmas.