It’s almost New Year Eve again, I hope we all had a wonderful year in 2018. If you are planning to have your New Year’s holidays in Japan, I would love to recommend you some places and events in Tokyo that you can enjoy while celebrating the coming year of 2019.
There is a variety of exciting events for celebration and countdowns on the last night of the year. It is highly recommended to participate in one of them to make the most out of the last moment of 2018 and welcome the next year. I have made a small lists of events and parties held in Tokyo that you can choose from for a memorable night in Japan.
1. Countdown parties
If you want to say goodbye to 2018 and welcome 2019 in a fun and exciting way, there are various countdown parties around Tokyo that will rock your world!
1. Tokyo New Year’s Eve Fireworks Countdown Cruise 2018–2019
One of the most common and also the most spectacular way to celebrate the New Year is watching the fireworks. And even more exciting is to be on a luxurious cruise with music and food while enjoying the view over a beautiful city and watching the amazing fireworks performance. Tokyo New Year’ Eve Fireworks Countdown Cruise will take you on a trip around the Tokyo Bay, you can enjoy the exclusive buffet style dinner and music by a marching band, while adoring the breath-taking views of some of Tokyo’s landmarks such as Rainbow bridge, Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Sky Tree and counting down to celebrate the new year of 2019.
This Countdown Cruise with fireworks is perhaps one of the most popular events in Tokyo on New Year’s Eve. There are high chances that it will be fully booked much earlier than the day. So if you want to have an incredible night and enjoy the last moment of 2018, I highly suggest you make reservations for the cruise as soon as possible.
2. Universal Countdown Party 2019 At Universal Studio Japan
As one of Japan’s best amusement park, the Universal Studio Japan is going to host an incredible countdown party. You will have the chance to celebrate the coming of 2019 in style, and you can do that with many of your favorite characters like Harry Potter and the Minions.. Universal Countdown Party 2019 will deliver the perfect mix of fun, excitement and delightful surprises. The brand new countdown event will be held at Universal Studio Japan in 2019. As part of this year’s expanded celebrations, the Countdown Party is a 26–hour event and you will enjoy fantastic fireworks, celebrity appearances, and an electric party atmosphere at Universal Studios Japan guaranteed to make you feel both nostalgic for 2018 and hopeful for 2019.
The Universal Countdown Party 2019’s pass tickets will definitely be sold out quickly, so make sure to reserve your tickets in advance!
3. Tokyo Fight Club New Year Countdown Party
On the New Year’s Eve of 2018, you can join of one the more exciting and unique experience of countdown party in Tokyo, which is New Year Countdown Party Fight Night at Tokyo Fight Club. The party is featuring three live fights in the cage, many famous go-go dancers as well as live DJs. There will also be all-you-can-drink deals and international dishes are available. The fight night countdown party is going to be held in Tokyo and it is offered at 50% of the original price. Since it is an unique and exciting event, tickets are expected to be fully booked soon, I recommend you to make your purchase soon.
4. Tokyo Station Hotel Countdown Party
Tokyo Station Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in Tokyo and it will be hosting an exclusive countdown party this year. Countdown Party Electro Swing Night features live entertainment with jazz band, including a live performance by four members of the Tawoyame Orquesta, as well as DJ performances. Food and champagne are also served at the party. If you don’t like stay at home and not fond of loud partying, this elegant experience just might be the one for you.
5. Joypolis Countdown Party 2019
Tokyo Joypolis is a famous indoor amusement park in Tokyo, it offers arcade games, various attractions, amusement rides and recently, cutting-edge VR experience, all under a theme of the famous game company Sega. The countdown event is held by the park annually and this year, there will be live shows by famous musicians and comedians all night on New Year’s Eve. Even though the show will mostly be operated in Japanese, everyone is welcomed to come and enjoy the exciting party atmosphere. They are having a 10% discount for tickets right now and the elderly (60 years old and above) will receive free entrance. The park is located in Odaiba Bay and is expected to be very crowded during the event.
6. Sora Fest Countdown Special 2019 In Sky Circus Sunshine 60 Observatory
As the highest skyscraper in Ikebukuro, Sky Circus Sunshine 60 is going to host a countdown event at the observatory on 60th floor to celebrate the coming of the next year. You will get the chance to enjoy the spectacular night view over the city at the height of over 250 meters above the sea level and celebrate new year in a unique experience. Since its renewal last year, more fun and interesting activities have been added and you can enjoy some VR experiences such as flying over the city or feeling the fear of heights.
7. WOMB New Year Countdown party
WOMB opened in 2000 in Shibuya, Tokyo, the leading district in music and fashion and worldwide focal point for Japanese youth culture. WOMB has continued to bring the latest and best in electronic music to fans in Tokyo and serves as the launching pad for resident artists into oversea fame. WOMB will be hosting a New Year Countdown to 2019 party, featuring a special guest – Nic Fanciulli for a 6-hour special long set. You will have the chance to enjoy the final moments of 2018 in Asia’s largest mirror ball and a top-class sound system with high-quality lighting and laser productions.
8. Ageha Countdown Party
AgeHa, which is the biggest club in Japan, is located on the shores of Tokyo Bay. Ageha is living up to its reputation as it will be hosting one of the biggest Countdown Party in Tokyo. To celebrate the new year and end year 2018 in a high note, they have invited SHOWTEK, best known for their hits ‘Booyah’ and ‘We Like to Party,’ and the David Guetta collab ‘Bad’ to lead this amazing event. They are also trying to replicate the success of the past years – having more than 8,000 people to each of the parties, by bringing back DJ Kaori and the CyberJapan Dancers. At the moment, the early-bird tickets are already sold out, if you really want to attend, it is highly recommended that you check for online tickets or show up early to purchase on the spot. It is likely going to be a huge and wild party so don’t miss out on.
2. Traditional ways of celebration
Hatsumode is one of Japanese traditional customs, and the Japanese visit a shrine or temple on New Year’s holidays to wish a happy new year. Japanese people visit shrines and temples for their religions, and those historical sites are also visited by foreign tourists as popular tourist sites to learn more and experience the culture of Japan. These popular shrines and temples can draw up to millions of people only for a few days of New Year’s holidays.
1. Meiji Jingu Shrine
Meiji Shrine (明治神宮, Meiji Jingu) is the largest Shinto shrine in Tokyo, which attracts a lot of people including visitors from overseas to visit and enjoy this shrine. Especially, over 3 million people visit here to make wishes for the coming year during the New Year’s holidays to pray and enjoy the atmosphere. It is located beside the Harajuku Station, which is closed to Shibuya and Shinjuku. You will be greeted with an enormous Torii gate then a long walk through path leading to the main temple under the shades of more than 100 thousands tree. You can pray in the shrine and also write your wish on a wooden votive tablet, then your wishes may come true!
2. Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple (浅草寺, Sensoji), also called Asakusa Kannon, is the oldest temple and one of the most visited tourist spots in Tokyo. According to the official website of the temple, a renowned Buddhist priest visited Asakusa and built Kannon Hall in 645. The temple is also famous for its main temple gate Kaminarimon Gate (雷門) and the red giant lantern hanging where you can take a really nice picture. Within the temple, there are many things you can do. You can wash your hands to wash away the bad luck of the old year. You wash your left hand with the scoop and right hand and then, rinse your mouth. It finish washing handle of it with the same water. You can also touch the incense smoke to make part of your body, which is bad or injured, better. You can also pray and read your fortune with Omikuji, and lastly you can get an Omamori charm for better luck in the new year.
3. Tokyo Daijingu Shrine
Tokyo Daijingu Shrine (東京大神宮), originally established in 1880, was moved to this site in 1928 after the Great Kanto earthquake. The shrine is a branch of Ise Grand Shrine in Mie prefecture and also looked on as one of the Tokyo’s five major shrines as well as Meiji Shrine, Yasukuni Shrine and so on. It’s very common today to hold wedding ceremonies at shrines in Japan. The first wedding ceremony at a shrine was held at Tokyo Daijingu Shrine in 1900. You can come here to enjoy the scenery and atmosphere while celebrating the coming of the new year.
4. Kandamyojin Shrine
Kanda Myojin Shrine (神田明神) is a grand shrine which has a big influence on 108 towns in Tokyo including Kanda – the center of old Tokyo, Akihabara – the town of Japanese pop culture, and Tsukiji Market – the world biggest fish market, and so on. These days, the shrine is a popular tourist site among the young since it is located near Akihabara which is the mecca of the Otaku geek culture. The number of visitors during New Year holidays can peek at 300 thousands people. It is one notable shrine that you can enjoy the atmosphere and welcome the new year of 2019.
5. Hatsuhinode on Mount Takao
Hatsuhinode is the first sunrise of the year and is one of many firsts that the Japanese take note of during the celebration of the new year. This tradition has been practiced since ancient times – originally performed at the beginning of spring based on the lunar calendar, hatsuhinode is now practiced faithfully on January 1st. One of the places that you can experience your Hatsuhinode is on Mount Takao. While hiking on Mount Takao could be an amazing experience, enjoying the air and the scenery. You can watch the first sunrise of the year on top of Mt Takao, where Mt Fuji is also visible.
There are a lot of exciting events and activities that you can engage in to celebrate the New Year holidays in Japan. With the above list of recommendations, I hope that you can find what is most suitable for you and have an enjoyable, memorable celebration for the new year. If you want to learn more about Japan, please feel free to visit “Guidable” as there are more information available!