Just before the Halloween decorations were taken down and packed up, the signs advertising Christmas cakes went up. Bakeries, department stores and convenience stores all seem to have a corner for small cakes topped with whipped cream and tiny Santa Claus figurines. A traditional Japanese holiday feast of KFC and strawberry shortcake might come off as odd to those used to a whole roast turkey and apple pie, but if you're up for joining the local festivities, then make sure your treats will impress.

Festive Fujiya

The most common types of Christmas cakes are sold at large bakery chains such as Fujiya. Strawberry shortcakes, topped with fresh strawberries and white chocolate stamped with the company's Peko-chan mascot, come in three sizes: super small (¥2,100), small (¥3,000) and medium (¥4,000). The bakery sells other types of sweets for Christmas, but the most notable this year are the ice cream cakes, which come in two flavors: the Christmas Peko Ice Cream Cake (¥3,300), which contains a mix of strawberry and chocolate ice cream, or, for chocolate lovers, a chocolate ice cream cake (¥3,100) filled with two different types of chocolate ice cream. Like many bakeries that sell cakes for Christmas, customers have to go directly to the shop to place their order and then come back days later to pick up the cake. For Fujiya, the deadline for cake reservations is Dec. 16.