11 Special Places to Spend the New Year Holiday in Japan! | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

11 Special Places to Spend the New Year Holiday in Japan!

By Devy Dec 16, 2021

Since the holiday season is coming soon, how do you plan to spend your new year holiday and make unforgettable memories with your family or friends?

In this article, we introduce some exciting suggestions for you to have a wonderful New Year’s season. Don’t forget that many tourist locations, hotels and restaurants run on different hours during the year end so make sure you check in advance before you leave home.

1. Places to Enjoy New Year Celebrations in the City


Our very first suggestion is, of course, the magnificent Shibuya. This fantastic district has always been favored by locals and foreigners who live in Japan, looking to have a fun New Year holiday. 

Shibuya is always crowded during New Year’s Eve, as there are often countdown festivals for everyone to enjoy. 

Shibuya main road is always crowded during special events, so we recommend you look a bit further afield, away from the station.

Miyashita Park 

Miyashita Park is the new popular destination to visit in Shibuya. There are a bunch of unique stores such as the KitKat museum, art galleries, and brand shops along the hallways. 

If you are looking for places to hang out with your friends, there are a lot of izakayas on the first floor, open until midnight. The park on the rooftop is also a great spot you can’t miss, and a great photo op!

Shibuya Scramble Square

new year in japan shibuya scramble square

Pixabay, Philippsaal

Another outstanding destination in Shibuya is the Shibuya Scramble, located right on top of Shibuya Station. 

Travel up to Shibuya Sky, where you can see Tokyo lit up, and gaze upon the scene from over 200 meters above the city. 

At only 1,750 yen, you can enjoy an unlimited time relaxing on the grass, enjoying the beautiful scenery from the top. 

2. Travel to High Places

Another thing you can do to spend your New Year is travel by car to high places where you can enjoy fireworks and city views. 

There are some places near Tokyo where you can enjoy such things, here are a few of them. 

new year in japan zaidansyahh

Photo by zaidansyahh


Driving to Chichibu has been a trend lately for young adults to have a memorable hangout. There are a lot of places you can park your car, star glaze, or have a small picnic with your loved ones. 

It takes 2 hours to drive from central Tokyo to Chichibu, Saitama but it’s definitely worth it!

Mount Takao

For those of you who like nature more than window shopping, Mount Takao should be on your list. 

Mount Takao is one of the closest mountains to Tokyo and you can have a wonderful time on your journey to the top by using chair lifts or hiking to climb up the mountain. Don’t worry, the hiking track isn’t too intense, it does provide a great adrenaline rush though!

3. Travel Through Time to Old Town or Shrines

Traveling through time to Japanese old towns and shrines can also be a great choice to spend the New Year’s holiday. 

new year in japan zaidansyahh image

Photo by zaidansyahh

Little Edo, Kawagoe

Located only 1 hour from Tokyo, the old town Kawagoe will take you back to Japan in the 50s, with its authentic stores and Japanese architecture lining the road. 

There are traditional foods and local cultures for you to enjoy your travel to older times. 

Besides the unique shops and ambiance, Kawagoe has several shrines that you can visit and reconnect with old Japanese customs. 

Join the locals by coming to the shrines and going deeper into the traditional cultures. Read more about Kawagoe here.  


One of the favorite areas of Tokyoites to spend New Year is Asakusa, with its food festivals and famous shrine. You can have an unforgettable trip enjoying Asakusa, this cultural hub of Japan. 

Gion, Kyoto

If you’re wanting to get out of Tokyo, Gion in Kyoto can also be your new year destination. Gion is famous for its shrines and temples, traditional shops, and restaurants along the hilly road. A nostalgic view of Japanese in the 1920s. 

Gion is an excellent place to enjoy the old, traditional Japan and a holy place for the Japanese to spend a cultural day. A perfect place to go to!

4. A New Year Snowy Retreat

Another way to spend your New Year’s holiday is to go on a snowy retreat, where you can enjoy many activities such as skiing, hot springs, and ice walking. Here are some top suggestions. 

new year in japan hokkaido

Photo from Canva.com

New Year in Hokkaido

Of course, the top list on the snowy retreat destination is the famous Hokkaido. Niseko is a favourite for both locals and tourists to enjoy ice walking and unforgettable skiing experiences. Sight-see in Sapporo, and take a trip to Otaru, a beautiful quaint town very picturesque when lit-up in winter and covered in snow. A little tip, never miss Hokkaido’s delicious snowy crab dish!

Yuzawa, Niigata

japan, ski resorts, niigata, yuzawa

Photo by the author

Located one hour away from Tokyo by shinkansen, Yuzawa is the must-go-to destination for a fantastic snowy retreat. For more info about a trip to Yuzawa, Niigata, please refer to this page. 

Nikko, Tochigi

Niiko is also one of the nearest winter wonderlands from Tokyo. You can enjoy great hot springs, easy-slope skiing, and sightseeing in Nikko for a day trip. 

So, Are You Excited to Wrap Up Your 2021 and Welcome the New Year?

new year in japan snow village

Photo by zaidansyahh

This is the right time to wrap up your 2021 with unforgettable memories and marvelous experiences. 

Let us know what you think about your trip to the suggestions above. Happy holiday and have a wonderful time!

Devy Mufliha,


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