Most of the Japanese have a simple New Year countdown – おおみそか, they would spend most of the time with the family watching singing contest while enjoying soba. In fact, compared to New Year countdown, the first Shinto shrine visit- Hatsumode 初詣( はつもうで) is much more important. It is traditional Japanese culture, wishes for the New Year are made, wishing for a good year ahead. Some famous shrines would open earlier for hatsumode.
As a tourist, it is recommended that you experience both the New Year countdown and hatsumode, to experience the New Year celebrations in Japan. Today, we will introduce you to, the best 3 shrines which you can reach after the New Year count down, you can experience the celebration from the night before to the next morning!
Tokyo railway services will be extended on 12/31, everyone can enjoy their day and not worry about rushing for the last train. Let’s take a look at the special schedule on this date.
＊This article is about Tokyos’ New year celebrations, we also covered details on Osaka’s transport systems and events on New Year Celebrations~(New year Eve in Osaka – The must-know events and transportations!)
++The following are the activities we recommended for you++
1. Tokyo Tower -> Zojo-ji Temple Hatsumode 增上寺初詣
Address: (JR Yamanote Line, get off at Hamamatsu Station, take the North Exit and walk for 15 minutes)
Tokyo Tower’s observatory stage opens until 23:00 (no countdown activities), it might take you an hours’ worth of queuing to purchase the tickets on 12/31. Most of the tourist would visit the Zojo-ji Temple after watching the night view from Tokyo Tower.
Compared to the night view, Tokyo Tower is famous for the first sunrise on 1/1, if the weather is good, you will be able to see Mount Fuji and the whole of Tokyo, the view is spectacular, there will be special edition souvenirs for sale too. On New Year’s Day, 1/1, it opens from 6:00AM, it is recommended for those early birds.
Address: Minato-ku, Tokyo Shiba Park 4-7-35 (JR Yamanote Lin, get off at Hamamatsu Station, take the North Exit and walk for 15 minutes)
Jojo-ji Temple is located in front of the Tokyo Tower, it is the cemetery for Tokugawa Shogun. Tokyo Tower is the background of the grand hall. On the 12/31 night, starting from 11pm, there will be all kinds of worshiping activities, it is recommended for those who want to experience the traditional Japanese customs with an open mind.
In the past, there were a few countdown events in the Jojo-ji Temple (where at 12am, they would release balloons), but this event was cancelled in 2013, now it is replaced with a traditional bell ringing function. However, the Tokyo Tower will be lit up at 0:00 in the background, it gives you a combination of modern and traditional, it is definitely worth the visit.
Main route: JR Yamanote Line (Special trip: 00:00 -05:00)
2. Asakusa Amusement Park浅草花やしき–>Senso-ji Temple 淺草寺
Address: Asakusa 2-28-1, Taito, Tokyo (Underground Metro Ginza Line, Asakusa Subway, Tobu Isesaki Line, get off at Asakusa Station and walk for 5 minutes)
Asakusa Amusement Park, 浅草花やしきis the oldest amusement park in Tokyo, after its business hour on 12/31, it will reopen again at 21:00, and 9 games will be open up for public, the 9 game PASS only cost 1000 YEN. Don’t forget to visit the Senso-ji Temple after visiting the park!。
Check out more about the Asakusa Amusement Park here: Playground under the aerial tower – Hanayashiki (Asakusa Hanayashiki)
(Asakusa Station, take Exit A4, walk for 5 minutes)
Senso-ji Temple is a must-go attraction in Tokyo. It is a popular attraction on 12/31 too, especially for foreign tourist. It is open at 0:00 on 1/1 and it is always crowded.
Main Route: Underground Metro Ginza Line
3. Kasai Rinkai Park -> Tomioka Hachiman Shrine Hatsumode
Kasai Rinkai Park
Address: Edogawa Rinkai-cho 6-chome (JR Keiyo Line, get off at Kasai Rinkai Park and walk for 1 minute)
This is the best place to go for Ferris wheel fans, it is one of the tallest Ferris wheel in Japan. On 12/31, the Ferris wheel will be lit up with a huge digital clock for count down event. It is relatively close to Tokyo Disneyland, you will be able to see the fireworks organize by Disneyland too! Ferris wheel and fireworks, isn’t this very romantic.
The park is open from 10:00 to 20:00. It is free admission and some of the games are free of charge too. To those who comes around 23:00, you will be given free light fan and many performances will take place from 23:15!
Tomioka Hachiman Shrine
Address: Tomioka 1-20-3, Koto Tokyo (JR Keiyo Line, get off at Etchūjima Station and walk for 15 minutes)
The Tomioka Hachiman Shrine is very famous for hatsumode, after counting down, you can take the same Keiyo Line to the shrine. Each year, there is more than 20 million worshipers. On 12/31, it is open from 23:00 to 1/1 20:00, it is famous for the victory god – Hachiman, and there is also a Sugawa no Michizane, which is known as the god of wisdom, it is suitable destination for a family trip.
Main route: Keiyo Line (Special trips: 00:00~ 05:00）
A soft reminder, most of the restaurant will close early on that day, if you are looking for something to eat at late night, maybe you will have to go to the small stalls near 屋台（やたい）or convenience store. I wish you a wonderful New Year.
Tokyo New Year’s Eve Countdown Attraction (Japanese)
East JR New Year’s Even Special Schedule (Shinkansen does not extend its service)
See page 2
Underground Ginza Line 地下鉄メトロ(METRO) New Year Eve’s Special Schedule
See page 2