TOKYO (Reuters) -- Forget those seasonal images of carol singers and jolly Santa Claus -- for Tokyo's fashionable young couples, Christmas is a time for steamy sex in luxury hotels.
Most of Tokyo's top hotels have been fully booked for the nights of Dec. 24 and 25 for weeks.
The guests are men and women in their early 20s, some still students, eager to spend almost as much on this one night of sex, fine food and wine as they earn in a month.
"On the nights of Christmas Eve and Christmas, we have no rooms available at all," said a spokesman at the Roppongi Prince Hotel in the heart of Tokyo. "Most of the reservations were made in October."
The cost: an average of $370 a night, which covers a twin room and a bottle of champagne.
Japan is not a Christian country, and no one can really trace the origins of this custom, but it has been in vogue for at least the past five years.
One 21-year-old university student said he made his Christmas Eve hotel reservation in July and put aside $740 for the evening.
He did not cancel the reservation after breaking up with his girlfriend last month, expecting he would soon find someone else to share the room with him.
Arranging the evening is the responsibility of the young man, whois also expected to pick up the expenses. As well as the hotel reservation, these will include a meal at an expensive restaurant.
The 220 seats at the popular Brasserie Flo, in trendy Omotesando, for instance, are fully booked for Christmas Eve and Christmas night.
The special Christmas dinner -- scallops, shrimp, steak and sherbet -- costs $74 plus drinks. The total typical bill will come to about $220, the manager said.
The ideal Christmas, including the room, dinner and a gift, would cost the young Japanese man about $960.
The average salary of a recent university graduate is $1,110 a month.