With 2019 coming to a close, everyone is already looking forward to 2020! Many visitors will be visiting Japan over the New Year's holiday, and Tokyo is a major destination of choice. Each culture has a unique way of ringing in the New Year, and Japan is no exception. While there are various countdown parties held around the nation, we've chosen to pick up 4 events that people of all ages can enjoy. Make the beginning of your New Year truly memorable!
1. Happy Island Countdown 2020
Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise, which houses one of Tokyo's largest aquariums, and its attractions are open all night. Six of these fun attractions include the Aqua Museum, which houses some 120,000 aquatic animals; Dolphin Fantasy, an arch-shaped tunnel in which you can walk while seeing dolphins swimming around you - in addition to two other aquariums, plus Blue Fall, Japan's tallest vertical drop ride - and even the Surf Coaster Leviathan, a fantastic seaside roller coaster where you might be able to catch sight of Fuji! Enjoy these attractions and more all night long.
Also, at the stroke of midnight, enjoy the "New Year Fireworks Symphonia" where some 3,000 fireworks are set off - accompanied by music.Enjoy spending the New Year along Tokyo Bay with lively, colorful fireworks launched in the clear air of winter!
Price: (Advance ticket) a. 3500 yen with special dolphin show. b. 3,000 yen without special dolphin show.
(Day of) 3500 yen without special dolphin show.
Time: December 31, 2019, 3PM - January 1, 2020, 8AM (ticket use time)
Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise横浜・八景島シーパラダイス
- Address Hakkeijima, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 236-0006
Hakkeijima Station （Kanazawa Seaside Line）
- Phone Number 045-788-8888
2. Tsukiji Honganji - "New Year's Bells"
Enjoy the New Year in a traditional Japanese way with the "New Year's Bell," which chimes through from New Year's Eve until New Year's Day. At Tsukiji Honsenji, you can even get a chance to be one of the 350 people who can ring the bell - but be sure to get there early! There is also a pipe organ concert and a performance of Gagaku - ancient Japanese court music and dance. Warm soba and oden will be sold in the front area which you can enjoy while watching the oriental main hall lighted up. Ring in the New Year - then taste some of its seasonal flavors!
Price: Free (1 ticket is distributed per person from 10PM on the day; first-come, first served basis; limited to 350)
Time: 10PM - 2AM
3. Enjoying 'Everyone's New Year' at Asakusa's Hanayashiki
Celebrate the New Year with fun at Japan's 'oldest amusement park', Hanayashiki - located right next to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. On December 31, the park will be open as normal until 6PM, where it will briefly close and re-open at 8PM, from which time its New Year events will be held. From the glittering lights of the 'Lumiyashiki' illumination to the live comedy show at the garden stage, it's sure to be a fun time for people of all ages. The countdown show really kicks in at 11:30PM, and even during this time you can enjoy park's the many attractions.
Price: Entry + 7-Ride Unlimited Tickets, 2000 yen
Time: December 31 from 8PM - 2AM
4. Kasai Rinkai Park: Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel New Year's Eve Countdown
The 'Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel' is not only the landmark of Kasai Rinkai Park, but with a height of 117 meters, it's also the largest in Japan. From the top, you can get a 360 degree panoramic view, seeing such landmarks as Tokyo's Rainbow Bridge, the Aqua Line's Umihotaru, plus Tokyo Tower and Tokyo SkyTree - even possibly the top of Mt. Fuji! On December 31st it will be open all night. At a special events stage in front of the Ferris wheel, a countdown performance will be held with live performances - and even an appearance by the park's mascot characters!
Price: Event viewing is free; Ferris Wheel ride is 700 yen
Time: December 31, open 10AM - 8AM the following morning. Events are held from 11PM - 12:10AM
Quick word on New Year in Japan
Unlike the huge fireworks displays and celebrations that you might find in other countries, the New Year tends to be a quieter holiday in Japan. Many people will head back to their respective hometowns and spend the holiday with family. Most of the people who remain will head to literally ring in the New Year by heading to a temple or shrine to pray for good fortune in the year ahead, while the temple bells are rung. It's a cleansing and spiritual time of year.
Shop hours tend to be shortened on New Year's Eve and on the following day, many facilities and stores will be closed or operating under holiday hours. Still, there are many fun things to do on both days - and at the beginning of the year (when 'lucky bags' are in season) you can get incredible shopping deals as well.
Whatever way you enjoy the end of this year and the beginning of the next, we hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday!
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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