Christmas in Kyoto ・The first event in 1560!

Yoshie Doi

Christmas tree in the lobby of Hotel Okura Kyoto
Christmas tree restaurant ryu no hige in the glass

Christmas tree restaurant ryu no hige on a plate

 The first Christmas in Japan was held in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Suo Province in 1552 (Tenbun 21). The first was the Koutansai (Nativity), a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ held by Jesuit missionaries inviting Japanese believers.

 Introduced by the Jesuit Francis Xavier in 1549 (Tenbun 18), Christianity swelled to 100,000 followers in just a few decades. In Kyoto, a Japanese Jesuit, Vilela Lorenzo, received permission from the shogun Yoshiteru Ashikaga to spread Christianity and established a church in Shijo, Kyoto. Around 1560 (Eiroku era), more than 100 Christians gathered in Kyoto and held a grand nativity festival. This is the first Christmas event in Kyoto.

In 1587 (Tensho 15), Hideyoshi’s expulsion decree edict dealt a blow to the missionary work. It is said that about 7,000 Christians were born in Kyoto, but in 1617 the shogunate issued a ban on Christianity, and Christmas disappeared from Japanese history until the Meiji Restoration. put away. In the Meiji era, the ban on Christmas was lifted by the order to release Christians. 

 The cake that is eaten at Christmas has its roots in 1549 (Tenbun 18), when a Portuguese ship drifted ashore on Tanegashima, bringing castella to Japan. In the Meiji era, there was a big change from Nanban confectionery to Western confectionery. The first shortcake in Japan was sold in 1922 by Rinemon Fujii, the founder of Fujiya.

It was modified into a sponge cake to make it easier for Japanese people to eat.

 Meijiya opened a store in Ginza in 1900 (Meiji 33), sold Christmas products, and decorated a large Christmas tree in the storefront in 1892. This was accepted in Japan, and the Christmas sales season began.

 Restaurants and tourist spots that had refrained from Christmas sales due to the corona crisis are now crowded with many tourists. I also enjoyed a slow Christmas meal for the first time in a long time.
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