Visiting Meiji Jingu Shrine at Midnight with the locals is a lifetime memory, a spiritual experience and unique way to celebrate New Year In Japan.

Photo Credit: おむこさん志望cc at Wikimedia

On Japanese New Year’s eve (Oshogatsu) locals come to Meiji Jingu Shrine in Tokyo after midnight.

Traditional kimono, that’s what they wear if the weather permits, which makes it a good photo opportunity for you…

Several million people(!!!) come to Meiji Shrine during the three days of this major Japanese holiday. The Japanese people pray for a prosperous and healthy new year. The temples ring their bells 108 times in memory of Japan’s hard times.

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Best Japanese New Year Attractions

A lucky start to the year is watching the first sunrise in Tokyo
And there’s the food of course. You have to try the Special New Year Food.

Tsukiji Fish market might be a little colder than usual, but it is still a fabulous place to go for morning sushi (except Wednesdays when it is closed).

Tokyo Sky Tree will also present some fabulous views of the Winter Skyline, and may prove a particularly beautiful experience when the landscape is covered with snow.

Tokyo Tower always celebrates its birthday in December and will put on special lightning displays throughout the month, especially on New Year’s Eve.

Meanwhile, the kabuki hotspots of Shimbashi Embujo, Meiji-za and National Theater will be staging their plays throughout the first three weeks of December.

See more: kabuki Tickets

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Top Things To Do in Tokyo on New Year in Japan

New Year in Japan Traditions

Many Tokyo Attractions are closed between January 1st to January 3rd (museums, shops).

Japanese love to send New Year’s cards.

The Japanese view the years as completely separate, with each New Year providing a fresh new start.

Everything associated with the New Year is symbolic of ‘firsts’.
Everyone is expected to complete their duties before the end of the year, and ‘year forgetting parties’ – Bonenkai – are held in order to leave behind the old year’s troubles.
Isn’t that a sweet idea?

January 1st represents the whole year that has just begun. That’s why the Japanese try to make this day just perfect.

A lucky start to the year is watching the first sunrise.

Otoshidama means ‘new year treasure’, and it’s a beautiful custom of giving money to children on New Year’s Day.

There are also special games to play on New Year. A popular game is Furuwarai which is like pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, Hanetsuki – Japanese badminton, Takoage – kite flying, and Karuta – a card game.

You’ll see typical decorations on the Japanese houses, cranes and turtles, that are believed to bring good luck, longevity and happiness.

Continue Reading about Japanese New Year:

Christmas in Japan

Christmas Decorations in Japan

Return from Japanese New Year to Japanese Holidays

Return from Japanese New Year to Tokyo Attractions

Tokyo Trip Checklist

  • To make sure you have all the important things covered see my first-time-in-Tokyo guide
  • Get your 1,2 or 3-day Tokyo Unlimited Subway Pass to easily get around Tokyo
  • If you want to travel on bullet trains you can save big with a Japan Rail Pass. Here’s why is worth it.
  • You’ll need a prepaid sim or Portable WIFI to stay connected in Tokyo.
  • Check out my detailed Tokyo packing list to make sure you’re prepared.
  • The best site to book hotels in Tokyo is almost always And remember to book early, especially during busy times.
  • For travel insurance (which you need) Word Nomads offer great coverage in Japan and are highly recommended.

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