Written by Nupur Jena
New Year’s Eve In Tokyo - 5 Ways To Welcome The New Year In Style
The New Year in Japan is a great celebration and there are many exciting activities you can enjoy as a visitor to make it very special. From traditional activities to parties and cruises, here are some suggestions on how to spend New Years in Tokyo.
The New Year is celebrated all around the world with equal excitement. Though you can experience the lively spirit of Japan at any time throughout the year, celebrating the New Year here will surely make your trip as well as memories even more joyous and special.
The New Year is one of the biggest holidays in Japan. In this article, we introduce five ways to enjoy a memorable and happy New Year’s Eve in Japan. Whether you want to share the countdown with Mickey Mouse or get a good view of the first sunrise of the year, there are plenty of fun activities to do at New Year's.
1. Visit Tokyo Skytree
Tokyo Skytree is a television broadcasting tower and landmark of Tokyo located in the Sumida ward, very close to Asakusa. The tower observatory offers wonderful panoramic views of the metropolis. The vast Tokyo skyline will never cease to amaze you.
At night, the view is even more dreamlike because of the tower light up. At the foot of Tokyo Skytree, there is a large multi-story, split-level shopping, dining, and entertainment complex called Tokyo Skytree Town. This area is also famous for its museums, aquarium, planetarium and souvenir shops, all of which are housed within the shopping complex.
If you would like to enjoy the amazing light-filled view of Tokyo along with shopping and dining, this is the place for you. The observation deck at Skytree offer truly wonderful views and one can also spend the night close-by with friends and family.
2. Seeking a Lively Atmosphere? Head to Shibuya or Oji!
Whether you are in a party mood or want to join the crowd to welcome the New Year in a traditional way, Tokyo has it all. Shibuya and Shinjuku are the two major entertainment zones in the city.
Shibuya has one of the most active nightlife scenes in all of Tokyo, so people come here to soak up the vibrant energy and ring in the New Year together. Crowds gather at the Shibuya Crossing on New Year’s Eve for the countdown.
Just like every year, the area around the Scramble Crossing and up towards Dogenzaka and Bunkamura Avenue will be closed to traffic, letting the thousands of people gathered here to celebrate in style. When it’s all over, the neighborhood has no shortage of bars and clubs to help keep the party going.
An event that has been growing in popularity in recent years is the Oji Fox Parade held on New Year's Eve in Oji, a town in Tokyo's Kita ward. Oji is famous for its Inari shrines and connection with sacred foxes, which are considered divine messengers.
At the parade, you'll be able to enjoy the sight of people wearing fox masks or makeup, as well as old Japanese rituals that have been around for centuries in this part of the city.
3. The Traditional New Year Shrine Visit
If you'd like to celebrate the New Year as the locals do, then the popular tradition of hatsumode (visiting a shrine or temple at New Year's) is the perfect choice for you.
Hatsumode can be performed at any shrine or temple in the country starting from midnight at New Year's and continuing for several days afterward.
If you choose to visit a temple at midnight, then you'll be hearing the famous joya no kane, the ritual ringing of the temple bell 108 times. At midnight on December 31st, all the Buddhist temples in Japan perform this ritual.
Temples that are famous for this ceremony in Tokyo are Zojoji, which is located near Tokyo Tower, and Asakusa’s Sensoji Temple. So how about kicking off the year by praying or wishing for prosperity, safety, and good health?
4. Karaoke All Night or Tokyo's Beautiful Illuminations
Karaoke is one of the most popular pastimes in Japan and no trip to the country is complete until you’ve thrown your inhibitions aside and stepped up to the mic. It is probably the most popular place to enjoy with friends, family or alone.
Karaoke is one of the best ways to gain a hands-on experience of Japanese culture. If you’ve never been to karaoke, this is the time you should try one! The karaoke facilities are open all through the night and also serve food and drinks.
If karaoke doesn’t sound too adventurous enough, you can always hop around Tokyo to see the beautiful illuminations around the city. One of Tokyo's most popular illumination events is Shibuya Ao no Dokutsu, stretching over 750 meters along Koen-dori toward Yoyogi Park.
There is also the stunning Marunouchi Illumination which is held in front of Tokyo Station every year. It is a 1.2 km long promenade lined with over 200 trees decorated with champagne gold-colored LED lights. It is a real treat for the eyes!
5. Midnight Countdown and Fireworks in Tokyo
Tokyo Tower is known for its elegant countdown celebration. At midnight, the lights of the tower change color, the date display changes, and balloons are released into the air.
If you'd like to see beautiful firework displays, then consider the countdown event in Ikebukuro’s Sunshine 60 observatory, the Red Brick Warehouse area in Yokohama or Hakkeijima Sea Paradise and Joypolis in Odaiba’s Aqua City.
If you fancy joining a cruise party for New Year’s Eve, try the Tokyo Bay or Yokohama Bay boat cruise. These floating parties are a lot of fun and make for an evening you’ll certainly never forget. You can enjoy a meal, drinks and a show along with a spectacular firework at midnight. Ranging from 5,000 to 14,000 yen, these cruises are indeed a unique experience.
I hope everyone has fabulous, exciting and incredible New Year’s Eve celebrations in Japan, and that you get to say goodbye to 2017 in the style that best suits you. Cheers to a brighter 2018!