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Five Ways to Spend New Year’s Eve in Tokyo

Okamoto N.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Okamoto N.

Last updated : Nov 17, 20135 min read

Things To Do

Everything is different time schedule in new year week. So it is difficult to enjoy it.
Here is the tips how to spend new year week.
Time surely flies... Have you decided on what to do on the last day of the year?
Most Japanese return to their hometowns over the New Year break and most shops would be closed, but if you pick the right places to go, you could experience a fun and unforgettable last-day-of-the-year!
There is a myriad of ways to spend it- traditionally, wildly, quietly or in style. Below are five ways to do it.
1. Party at a Club and Dance All Night

Have all your friends have gone back to their hometowns? Don't want to spend it all by yourself?
Hit the road, get down to the nearest club and make new friends! Drown all your sorrows of the year and prepare for a fresh start in just a few hours. There is no better way to spend it than crazily dancing in a club all night long.
Like how they say, You Only Live Once. Another year of your youth has passed by and you are going to get older. So twist your body, raise your hands up and jump around, while you still can!
Moreover, there are many exciting clubs around in Tokyo that you may want to check out. From the wild ageHa at Shin-Kiba to the chic Genius in Ginza, you have a wide spectrum of choices, depending on whether you want it insane or in style.
Here are 5 of the best night clubs in Tokyo
2. Experience the Traditional Hatsumode

Hatsumode refers to the first visit of the year to the shrine. Needless to say, the shrine (or jinja in Japanese) is a sacred structure building that enshrines the gods of the Shinto religion. People of all ages and genders flock to the shrine within the first 5 days of the year to make their wishes and prayers.
Pray for a smooth and fruitful year, be it in education, at work, in relationships or whatnot.
Expect to queue up for at least a few hours before you reach the shrine to make your prayers. Dress up in something warm as temperatures take a plunge after midnight.
Some of the famous shrines (and therefore extremely crowded) to visit include the Meiji Shrine in Harajuku, Asakusa Shrine and Yasukuni Shrine. After the hatsumode, be prepared to pull an all-nighter in the cold or you could proceed to the karaoke, izakaya or hit the clubs!

3. Ring the Joya no Kane (New Year Eve Bells) at Japanese Temples

This is one of the annual events based on Japanese Buddhism held through New Year’s Eve to New Year.
It is believe that we have 108 worldly desires which affect our feelings in good and bad ways. By ringing the temple bells 108 times, we can get rid of these desires and our sins in the past year. The last chime rings at the stroke of midnight to the new year to signify a fresh start.
Some temples require you to make reservations or take numbered tickets with a fee and whereas for other temples you can just stand in line and ring it without any charge.
Joya no Kane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHY9t5NDGj0
i. Kaneiji Temple
1-14-11 Uenosakuragi, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0002
Ueno Station, JR Line/Tokyo Metro Ginza Line/Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line/Keikyu keihin Line
Reservation and fee
Phone: 03-3821-4440
3,000 yen/person
ii. Zojoji Temple
4-7-35 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0011
3 minutes walk from Onarimon Station, Mita Line
5 minutes walk from Daimon Station, Asakusa Line/Oedo Line
7 minutes wallk from Akabane Staion, Oedo Line
10 minutes walk from Jinbocho Station, Hibiya Line
Ticket distribution and fee
They start to distribute numbered tickets at 9:00am on December 1 at Josoji Temple’s Office.
2,000 yen/person
iii. Homyoji Temple
3-18-18 Minami Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
15 minutes walk from East Exit of Ikebukuro Station, JR Line
Sign in
Please sign up by 12:30 am; free of charge

4. Watch NHK Kohaku Utagassen (End of Year Singing Contest/ TV Show)

Many Japanese who stay at home on New Year Eve watch this singing contest that involves a wide range of singers and artistes, from Traditional Japanese Enka to the latest idol groups.
The singers and artistes are grouped into red and white teams (red for women and white for men) as they compete by taking turns to sing their latest hit songs of the year. This show has been broadcasted since 1951!

5. Eating Toshi-koshi Soba

Soba is eaten traditionally on the last day of the year because of the following reasons.
(1) It is thought that soba is a symbol of good fortunes and longevity because soba is physically long.
(2) Since soba is easy to chew, it is believe to help us forget our hardship and overcome any disaster that may have happened during the year.
(3) The third reason is that it's believed that soba collects fortunes; During the Edo period, a gold and silver craftsmen used balls made of kneaded buckwheat (=soba) to collect splattered gold and silver pieces in the working area, and burned the ball over hibachi (= Japanese heating appliance using charcoal as fuel) to catch residue gold and silver pieces.
Now, decide what to do for New Year's Eve!

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Hello, my name is Yasuro (Mr). I was born and brought up in Kansai, graduated from a univ in Kobe city, after moved into Kanto, 30 years in Tokyo, 2.5 years in Nagoya city, 7.5 years abroad (KL & S'pore) as a rep of a construction company and I got the National Guide Certificate in 2011. My hobbies are making Haiku poems, singing various songs (voice-training for 18 years), playing the folk-guitar, trekking in mountains like Takao and Okutama in the West of Tokyo, visiting museums like in Ueno Park and travelling around Japan to make Haiku poems. Thank you for your attention.                                                                                                                                 

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