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Chilly Winter, Shiny Christmas: Tokyo's Top Six Events in December

Chilly Winter, Shiny Christmas: Tokyo's Top Six Events in December

Update: 5 December 2016

From traditional festivals that have a history of over 300 years, to colorful Christmas celebrations, Tokyo's December offers a lot of unique and lively events to fight the cold! Let's take a look at the best of them!

The 20th Meiji Shrine Outer Garden Ginkgo Festival

The 20th Meiji Shrine Outer Garden Ginkgo Festival

November 18th (Fri) - December 5th (Mon)

The 300 meter long canopy road leading through the Meiji Shrine Outer Garden will be dyed in magnificent gold as the over 150 ginkgo trees lining the street turn color. Because of this amazing spectacle, the Outer Garden is one of Tokyo's most popular autumn leaf viewing spots. To celebrate the changing seasons, the Ginkgo Festival is being held, an event that features around 50 different stalls and booths offering both delicious dishes and various crafts and arts. The Meiji Shrine Outer Garden Ginkgo Festival is a must-visit event for both locals and tourists alike!

Entry Free: None
Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Until 9:30 p.m. on Sundays, Saturdays, and national holidays. Until 2:00 p.m. on the last day of the event.
Holidays: None, but not held on rainy days.

Roppongi Christmas Market 2016

Roppongi Christmas Market 2016

November 26th (Sat) - December 25th (Sun)

The Roppongi Christmas Market is an event that seeks to emulate the one that is said to be the world's largest: the Stuttgart Christmas Market. This year, the Roppongi version celebrates its 10th anniversary, offering a large and colorful variety of Christmas-y goods from Germany, including the prestigious decorations of Käthe Wohlfahrt. Apart from atmospheric Christmas shopping, do enjoy some delicious mulled wine and a sausage while strolling along the many stalls and booths. From Friday the 23rd to Sunday the 25th, Christmas concerts will take place in the Roppongi Hills Arena, sure to invoke the appropriate Christmas spirit for the holidays.

Entry Fee: None
Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (until 10:00 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and public holidays)
Holidays: None

Setagaya Boro-Ichi Flea Market

Setagaya Boro-Ichi Flea Market

December 15th (Tue) and 16th (Fri)
January 15th (Sun) and 16th (Mon)

The Setagaya Boro-Ichi Flea Market has a very long history, dating back over 430 years to the Warring States period. One samurai lord, Ujimasa Hojo, held Setagaya's first flea market event called "rakuichi" in 1578 to give the local residents an opportunity of trading freely. It's successor is the Boro-Ichi Market, which is held twice a year on two days in December and January. With the Setagaya Daikanyashiki in its center, a historical mansion from the Edo period, the flea market features over 700 individual shops selling everything that the heart desires, from second-hand clothes and antiquities to jewelry and interior. Get a taste of old Edo at this lively event!

Entry Fee: None
Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Holidays: None

  • Boro-ichi Street
    ボロ市通りとその周辺
    • Address 1 Setagaya,Setagaya-ku,Tokyo,154-0017,Japan

Asakusa's Colorful Hagoita-Ichi Festival

Asakusa's Colorful Hagoita-Ichi Festival

December 17th (Sat) to December 19th (Mon)

The Hagoita-Ichi Festival is one of Tokyo's most beloved end of the year events. Hagoita are small wooden paddles, decorated with a variety of different adornments and ornaments. In ancient times, they have been used as ritual instruments for getting rid of demons and evil spirits but became most popular as rackets for an old Japanese badminton-like game called hanetsuki in the Muromachi period. Held in the precincts of Asakusa's Senso-ji Temple, over 50 different stalls offer their own unique hagoita creations, some masterfully lacquered with kabuki-esque imagery, others decorated with different jewelry and fabric. The prices vary wildly, ranging from a few hundred up to thousands of yen. Pick your favorite hagoita to take home one of Japan's most unique handmade souvenirs!

Entry Fee: None
Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Holidays: None

  • Senso-ji Temple
    • Address 2-3-1, Asakusa, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 111-0032
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Asakusa Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Toei Asakusa Line / Tobu Isesaki Line (Tobu Sky Tree Line) / Tsukuba Express)
      5 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 03-3842-0181

The Breathtaking Chichibu Night Festival

The Breathtaking Chichibu Night Festival

December 2nd (Fri) to December 3rd (Sat)

Called yomatsuri in Japanese, the Chichibu Night Festival is a beautiful spectacle held by the Chichibu Shrine in the same-named city, just outside of Tokyo. Dating back around 300 years, it is a winter favorite not only among locals. The highlight of the celebrations takes place on the evening of the 3rd December, when a gorgeous parade of illuminated floats makes its way from the Chichibu Shrine to a sacred palanquin. Shortly after, the cold winter night is lit up in a thousand vivid colors when one of Japan's only winter fireworks is taking place right above the cozy, lively atmosphere of the Chichibu Night Festival. Japan's winter is by no means a gloomy one!

Entry Fee: None
Hours: 12:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. on December 2nd, 9:00 a.m. - dawn on December 3rd
Holidays: None

The Tokyo Christmas Market 2016

The Tokyo Christmas Market 2016

December 16th (Fri) to December 25th (Sun)

Bringing Europe's atmospheric Christmas markets to the Japanese capital in all their glory is the Tokyo Christmas Market. Having been a major success in 2015, Tokyoites can look forward to it in 2016 as well. Next to the over 30 stalls and booths selling various Christmas ornaments and wood crafts, visitors will get to enjoy typical Christmas treats such as mulled wine and the German stollen, a kind of Christmas fruitcake. Another major highlight of this event is the 14 meter high "Christmas Pyramid" which is directly imported from the German village of Seiffen, famous for its rich and ancient Christmas customs and decorations. Next to a German orchestra providing the appropriate music for the occasion, candle-making and snowdome building workshops invite to actively participate. This is a must for every Christmas market fan!

Entry Fee: None
Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Holidays: None

  • Hibiya Park
    • Address 1-6, Hibiyakouen, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0012
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Hibiya Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line / Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line / Toei Mita Line)
      3 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 03-3501-6428
*This information is from the time of this article's publication.

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