Tokyo New Years Eve: A Summary

People travelling to Tokyo are often put off coming at New Years, as many travel guides highlight that during the new year Tokyo locals travel back to their home towns, and much of the city is closed. I on the other hand think new years is a wonderful time to spend in Tokyo. It is true that parts of the city shut down, but not only are the street's easier to navigate with less people; in a city that never sleeps you are sure to find many shops and restaurants open for business. Below is a quick rundown on how you can spend your new years eve in Tokyo:

1) Book a restaurant and enjoy Nomihoudo (All you can drink)
We chose Gonapchi in Shibuya, a Tokyo favourite, and had a delcious set-menu accompanied by a beautiful view.

Grilled Gindaya from Gonpachi

2) Bullrush in Shibuya
Countdowns happen in various parts of the city, but at the famous intersection in Shibuya madness ensues as hundreds of people run in to the crossing, yelling and wishing each other happy new year. In true Japanese style, when the flashing man turns red everyone politely return to the side of the road, to madly rush in again once the cars have passed and pedestrian's can cross.

3) All night, all you can drink Karaoke
It's new years, it's Tokyo, Karaoke is the simple answer! And after all you can drink, no one cares how tone deaf you are.

4) Visit a temple
At the beginning of the new year Japanese people visit the temple to pray for a successful coming year. Not only are the shrines beautiful, the festival food stores sell treats such as yakisoba and takoyaki straight off the bbq.

Write your wish for the new year and hang it at a temple

Finally, if you are in Tokyo from the 2nd of January you catch the sales which are a site on their own!


emma said...

I'm so glad I found your blog!
I booked my Japan flights a little too eagerly without looking into the time of year and only found out later that NYE mightn't be the best time to visit. But you've put my mind at ease!
I'm excited to check it out :)
I'm now reading through ALL your blog entries for ideas. I love it!
Quick question - are we going to find it difficult considering neither of us can speak any Japanese?

Sarah in Tokyo said...

Hi Emma! Don't be put off coming to Tokyo on NYE - there are few fireworks and house parties, but still a lot of character. I didn't mention it above - but another thing to do on NYE is to attend a temple. One of the popular ones, Meiji Jingu in Shibuya, is packed full of people, praying and bringing in the new year.
In Tokyo you shouldn't have much trouble getting around in English. For eating out, many restaurants such as Gonpachi above provide English menus, and if not, there is usually a lot of pictures. I hope you have a fantastic time over new years!

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