Being an imported holiday, Christmas in Japan is special. They don’t do things quite the same way that many of us do when celebrating the secular side of the holiday. And while Christmas trees are a common sight Japan nowadays, sometimes they skirt a bit below the line of normal.

The Kyoto Aquarium’s annual Christmas tree is right on the edge, and we’re not sure if it’s awesome or just plain weird.

Have you ever heard of the Japanese giant salamander? (This is related, I swear.) Japan is home to the world’s second largest amphibian in the world, and the Kyoto-area rivers are where these 1.5 m- (almost 5 ft) long creatures lurk in the wild. That being said, the Kyoto Aquarium has one of the biggest exhibits of Japanese giant salamanders in the world and they, of course, sell an adorable and cuddly stuffed toy salamander.

▼ How cute he is with his Christmas scarf!


Now for the connection, if you haven’t put it together yourself already: The Kyoto Aquarium’s controversial Christmas tree is made up of hundreds of the adorable, beige and peppered-black, giant salamander stuffed animals crammed together in the shape of a pine tree and covered with ribbons.

▼ Doesn’t it make you squirm, just a little?


The tree will be up from November 20 to Christmas Day. While it’s not up yet this year, some Twitter research led us to find some differing opinions of the tree when it was up last year. They vary from “How weird! This is bound to make kids cry!” to “It’s just chaos,” and “It’s nice because it’s like real-life salamanders swarming together.” Yeah, we guess that’s a good thing…

▼ Maybe this was the inspiration for the Christmas tree?

sala4Image: Wikipedia

Unfortunately, the pictures don’t quite do the tree justice, so if you’re in the area, you should probably go see it and report your findings back to us. Strange as it is, we kind of like it, but how do you think it rates on the weird-Christmas scale?

Source: Kyoto Aquarium
[ Read in Japanese ]