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Here's Where to Catch the First Sunrise on New Year's Day in Japan!

Here's Where to Catch the First Sunrise on New Year's Day in Japan!

Date published: 29 December 2018
Last updated: 16 December 2020

There is a tradition in Japan to savor the "firsts" in the New Year: the first prayer, the first dream, first sale - and of course, the first sunrise and first sunset.

During the New Year, many visitors will follow suit and enjoy these quiet, reflective moments as well. So where are the best spots to catch the first sunrise? Join as we introduce some of our favorite picks!

Table of Contents
  1. In Tokyo: Tokyo Tower
  2. In Tokyo: Jonanjima Seaside Park - Tsubasa Beach
  3. In Tokyo: Kasai Rinkai Park
  4. Near Tokyo: Mt. Fuji area
  5. Tokyo Outskirts: Cape Inubō
  6. Tokyo Outskirts: Hinodesan

In Tokyo: Tokyo Tower

In Tokyo: Tokyo Tower
Image courtesy of Tokyo Tower (Nippon Television City Corporation)

When it comes to Tokyo, you simply can't miss Tokyo Tower. In fact, it is also a fantastic place to enjoy the sunrise! Looking at the beginning of the day across Tokyo Bay and the city in front of you has a certain warm charm to it. The Main Deck, which is 150m above street level, opens on New Year's Day at 6AM and there are is no limit on the number of visitors. In fact, the first visitors of the year can receive a commemorative coin engraved with the January 1 date.

Note however that due to the large number of people who want to catch the sunrise at Tokyo Tower, the queue can be expected to be quite long. So you don't miss the sunrise, plan to arrive well ahead!

*According to the National Astronomical Observatory, sunrise in Tokyo on January 1 is expected to be 6:50AM.
*Dates, places, participation conditions, fees, etc. may vary. Be sure to check with organizers beforehand or refer to the official website.

In Tokyo: Jonanjima Seaside Park - Tsubasa Beach

In Tokyo: Jonanjima Seaside Park - Tsubasa Beach
Image courtesy of Jonanjima Seaside Park

Jonanjima Seaside Park is located at the outermost end of Jonanjima Island in Ota City, Tokyo. Here, you can see the romantic picture of the sun rising slowly from the sea level. It is the biggest reason for Jonanjima Seaside Park to become a popular attraction in Japan. It also has one of the few campsites in Tokyo for Tokyo Bay. The biggest feature of Jonanjima Seaside Park is that it can see the complete orange-red sunrise without any obstructions, so it's quite recommended for couples to visit! In addition, in January, Tokyo is still quite cold, and the power of the sea breeze should not be underestimated. Please pay attention to keep warm when planning to travel.

*You can enter at 6 am on January 1, but the general use time of Jonanjima Seaside Park is 8:30 minutes - sunset

  • Jonanjima Seaside Park
    城南島海浜公園
    • Address 4 Chome-2-2 Jonanjima, Ōta, Tokyo 143-0002
    • Access: Take the Keikyu Bus 32 from JR Omori Station East Exit, Keikyu Omorikaigan Station or Heiwajima Station, and get off at Jonanjima 4-chome; from here it is a 3 minute walk.

In Tokyo: Kasai Rinkai Park

In Tokyo: Kasai Rinkai Park
Image courtesy of Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association
Image courtesy of Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association

In addition to Jonanjima Seaside Park, Kasai Rinkai Park in Edogawa-ku, Tokyo is also a great place to see the first day from the seaside area! Looking at the sun rising from the buildings on the surface, the combination of nature and modernity is very moving! Access from Tokyo Station is simple: take the Keiyo Line to Kasai Rinkai Park Station (next to Maihama Station, where Tokyo Disney is located). It is a very convenient place for friends who have other travel plans after sunrise.

*Opens at 6 am on January 1
*The photo is provided from Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association and is prohibited from being reproduced. If you need to use, quote or reprint this photo separately, please apply for permission separately from the unit.

Near Tokyo: Mt. Fuji area

Near Tokyo: Mt. Fuji area

There's something simply magical and poetic about watching the sun rising above Mt. Fuji. As Japan's tallest mountain greets the sun, its hues change. Watching this color playing out is a marvelous experience. And fortunately, it isn't very far from Tokyo either! If you are traveling solo, be sure to head out New Year's Eve or join one of the many tour groups that head out for the special occasion (many of which will include sunrise and even a Japanese New Year breakfast).

Tokyo Outskirts: Cape Inubō

Tokyo Outskirts: Cape Inubō

Located in the easternmost part of Kanto, Cape Inubō (aka Inubosaki) is the first spot in Japan where people can catch the sunrise - save for folks who head out to any of the more remote islands or who climb higher mountains. The vast sea with the white crests of waves, plus the Inubosaki lighthouse, make for magnificent scenery in which to greet the New Year. So romantic, don't you think?

In addition to the famous lighthouse, you can also enjoy the sunrise from the nearby Aeon Mall - which opens at 7AM if you're looking to warm up. Also, the JR and Choshi Denkitetsudo lines will be running trains on December 31-January 1, making access convenient as well.

*Sunrise time is expected to be around 6:46AM
*On New Year's Day, traffic control will be implemented on the roads around Inubosaki, and more public transportation will be used. Traffic control time: 2 AM to 9 AM on January 1.

  • Cape Inubō
    犬吠埼
    • Address 9576 Inubōsaki, Chōshi-shi, Chiba-ken 288-0012
    • Access: From Tokyo Station, take the JR Shiosai Express to Choshi Station, then transfer to the Choshi Denkitetsudo to Inubo Station, from which it's a 7-minute walk

Tokyo Outskirts: Hinodesan

Tokyo Outskirts: Hinodesan
Image courtesy of Japan Travel and Tourism Association

Located within Chichibu Tama Kai National Park, Hinodesan rises up a modest 902 meters, which is not too difficult for mountain climbers. In addition to seeing the surrounding ranges, in clear weather you can also make out Tokyo SkyTree and other city buildings in the distance.

It takes about 90 minutes from JR Shinjuku Staiton to the nearest station, Mitake Station, on the Ome Line. From here you can take the bus to the mountain is accessible by bus to the "Gondola Station" and take the Mitake cable car.

The well-known Musashi Mitake Shrine is also here, and it is definitely a must-see for those who come to Tokyo to watch and experience the sunrise for the first time. When you go down the mountain, you can also warm up in one of the nearby onsen and really soak up the New Year!

  • Hinodesan
    日の出山
    • Address Oguno, Hinode, Nishitama District, Tokyo 190-0181
    • Access: From Shinjuku or Tokyo Station, take the JR Chuo Line to Tachikawa Station, then transfer to the Ome Line to Mitake Station, and change to bus and cable car.

Contrary to what visitors might expect, the Tokyo area actually has quite a lot of natural scenery. The New Year in Japan is quite different from the lively festive atmosphere in other areas around the globe. But we are certain you'll love the quiet way Japanese New Year is rung in! Definitely try as the locals do - and catch the first sunrise of the New Year!

Writer: JAMiE

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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