HOME Tokyo and Surroundings Tokyo Roppongi Top 10 Things to Do During New Year’s and New Year's Eve in Tokyo 2023-24 (With Train Schedules)
Top 10 Things to Do During New Year’s and New Year's Eve in Tokyo 2023-24 (With Train Schedules)

Top 10 Things to Do During New Year’s and New Year's Eve in Tokyo 2023-24 (With Train Schedules)

Last updated: 25 December 2023

New Year's Eve in Tokyo is a culturally unique event, distinct from Western-style celebrations. As the year ends, Tokyo emerges as a prime destination for those eager to delve into Japanese New Year traditions.

Unlike the lively parties often seen in the West on December 31, Tokyo's New Year's Eve is more about family gatherings, hometown visits, and traditional customs. Even though many Tokyo shops close early on this day, the city still buzzes with enjoyable shopping and festive preparations.

As you gear up to welcome the new year, we have curated a list of Tokyo's best spots for experiencing New Year's customs, indulging in celebrations, and getting in some last-minute shopping!

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Zojo-ji Temple New Year’s Countdown: Celebrating under Tokyo Tower
  2. 2. Cruise into the New Year with Tokyo Bay Night Views!
  3. 3. Countdown to the New Year with Club Vibes in Shibuya and Roppongi
  4. 4. Welcome the New Year with Fireworks and Midnight Whistles in Yokohama
  5. 5. Experience the Japan Anime 'Drone Show' at Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise
  6. 6. Ring in the New Year with Fun at Asakusa Hanayashiki's 'Everyone's New Year Celebration'
  7. 7. Get the Party Started at a Luxury Hotel Countdown Bash
  8. 8. Greet the New Year with a Sunrise at Tokyo's Skyline Viewpoints
  9. 9. Join the Countdown Celebration at Tokyo's Citizens' Square - 'HAPPY NEW YEAR TOKYO'
  10. 10. Experience Traditional New Year's Eve at Shrines and Temples in Tokyo
  11. Public Transportation & Traffic on New Year’s in Tokyo
  12. Opening Hours for Department Stores and Shopping Malls during New Year’s
  13. Advice & Tips for Enjoying New Years in Tokyo
  14. New Year Celebrations in Japan

1. Zojo-ji Temple New Year’s Countdown: Celebrating under Tokyo Tower

1. Zojo-ji Temple New Year’s Countdown: Celebrating under Tokyo Tower

Every December 31st, locals and tourists flock to Zojoji Temple for the traditional "Hatsumode" – a visit to a shrine or temple at the beginning of the year. It's a time to give thanks for the safe passing of the previous year and to pray for a prosperous and happy new year.

As dusk falls on December 31st, Zojoji Temple gradually buzzes with excitement. Monks begin to ring the "Joya no Kane," a bell rung around midnight to usher in the New Year. Each temple varies slightly in timing, but the essence is the same: to welcome the New Year with a serene mind. The bell is struck 108 times, symbolizing the Buddhist belief in removing 108 earthly temptations and starting the New Year with a pure heart. At Zojoji, four people take turns striking the bell, completing the 108 tolls in about an hour, marking a peaceful and spiritually cleansing start to the New Year.

  • Zojoji
    • Address 4-7-35, Shibakouen, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 105-0011
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Onarimon Station (Toei Mita Line)
      3 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 03-3432-1431

2. Cruise into the New Year with Tokyo Bay Night Views!

(Photo: KLOOK)
(Photo: KLOOK)

How about ringing in the New Year aboard a countdown cruise, gazing at the stunning night views of Tokyo Bay? Onboard, you're enveloped in an atmosphere of sophistication, indulging in a lavish dinner and an array of drinks. The cruise brims with various entertainments, creating a lively and joyful ambiance.

The Tokyo Bay Symphony Cruise's "Countdown Cruise 2023-2024" offers a choice between an extravagant buffet and a course meal, accompanied by live music to enhance the New Year's celebration. Embrace a unique New Year's experience on the countdown cruise, creating lasting memories against the backdrop of Tokyo Bay's enchanting scenery.

3. Countdown to the New Year with Club Vibes in Shibuya and Roppongi

3. Countdown to the New Year with Club Vibes in Shibuya and Roppongi

If you're craving a variety of drinks, dance, and music, Shibuya and Roppongi are your go-to destinations. Known for their abundance of clubs, these areas are at the heart of Tokyo's nightlife. Shibuya is a favorite among locals, while Roppongi offers an international vibe, attracting a diverse crowd.

In Roppongi, some nightclubs feature DJs and bands playing powerful music, creating an authentic party atmosphere for a grand New Year's celebration. Don't hesitate to step onto the dance floor and immerse yourself in the energy and excitement!

4. Welcome the New Year with Fireworks and Midnight Whistles in Yokohama

4. Welcome the New Year with Fireworks and Midnight Whistles in Yokohama

Celebrating New Year's Eve in historic Yokohama is a must-try experience. This city, influenced by Western culture following the end of over 200 years of national isolation in 1854 with the signing of the Japan-U.S. Treaty of Peace and Amity, is lively and brimming with an open, festive atmosphere on New Year's Eve.

At Yokohama Port Osanbashi, one of Japan's largest international passenger ship terminals, the "Joya no Funébue" event takes place. As midnight strikes on New Year's Day, ships at the port simultaneously sound their horns, heralding the arrival of the new year.

Furthermore, on January 1st, following the ship horns, a spectacular three-minute fireworks display lights up both the Shinminato Pier and Osanbashi. This event, part of the "Yokohama Sparkling Twilight," features projection mapping at Osanbashi and Shinminato Central Square, as well as stunning illuminations around the Yamashita Park area, adding a vibrant touch to the Yokohama region. Additionally, a countdown cruise around the bay area is a recommended way to soak in the festivities.

  • Osanbashi
    • Address 1-1-4, Kaigandori, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 231-0002
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Nihon-Odori Station (Minatomirai Line)
      7 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 045-211-2304

5. Experience the Japan Anime 'Drone Show' at Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise

5. Experience the Japan Anime 'Drone Show' at Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise

Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is home to one of Japan's largest aquariums, offering a plethora of attractions. The "Aqua Museum" houses about 120,000 marine creatures, and the arch-shaped "Dolphin Fantasy" tunnel allows visitors to observe dolphins swimming gracefully.

Additionally, the park features thrilling rides like the "Aqua Ride II," where you can experience the rush of a rapid river, and the "Surf Coaster Leviathan," which boasts a dynamic loop extending over the sea.

Operating as usual, a special event takes place on December 31st from 5:00 PM to 7:45 PM. The "STARDANCE in Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise" drone show festival features drones equipped with LEDs, creating various designs in the night sky. The show uses a stunning ensemble of 1,000 drones to depict globally popular "Japanese Anime & Characters" like "Ultraman," "Evangelion," and "Demon Slayer." These images are displayed on a grand scale, with heights reaching 150 meters and widths over 100 meters, offering a breathtaking experience.

  • 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
    • Phone Number 045-788-8888

6. Ring in the New Year with Fun at Asakusa Hanayashiki's 'Everyone's New Year Celebration'

6. Ring in the New Year with Fun at Asakusa Hanayashiki's 'Everyone's New Year Celebration'

Known as Japan's "oldest amusement park," Asakusa Hanayashiki closes at 6 PM on December 31st and reopens at 9 PM, offering special operations until 1 AM. The park, illuminated in cherry blossom-colored lights, offers attractions like the merry-go-round and haunted house. At 11:30 PM, a comedy stage show will be held at the Flower Stage. Plus, the first 200 guests will receive mini Toshikoshi soba, a traditional Japanese New Year's Eve noodle dish symbolizing good fortune.

Admission fees are 3,000 yen for adults (junior high students to 64 years old) and 1,000 yen for children (5 years old to elementary school students). Tickets are available at the Asakusa Gate entrance from 9 PM on the day. You can also purchase them online until 11:59 PM on December 31st at the Asoview website.

  • Hanayashiki
    • Address 2-28-1, 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)
      3 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 03-3842-8780

7. Get the Party Started at a Luxury Hotel Countdown Bash

7. Get the Party Started at a Luxury Hotel Countdown Bash

In Tokyo, several hotels host New Year's Eve countdown events. At the Hilton Tokyo in Nishi-Shinjuku, three bars and lounges within the hotel will host countdown parties. They offer unlimited drinks and special dining plans, along with live jazz and DJ performances (with a fee of 15,000 yen per person at the Marble Lounge).

Also, the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi, directly connected to Otemachi Station, will host a luxurious New Year's Eve countdown party at their top-floor bar, VIRTÙ. The event features unlimited high-end champagne, Armand de Brignac Brut Gold, at 55,000 yen per person. Additionally, THE LOUNGE will hold a lavish countdown party (30,000 yen per person). For guests staying on December 31st or January 1st, there's also a special New Year's amenity with a breakfast plan.

  • Hilton Tokyo Hotel
    • Address Shinjuku-ku, Nishishinjuku 6-6-2, Tokyo, 160-0023
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Tochomae Station (Toei Oedo Line)
      5 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

8. Greet the New Year with a Sunrise at Tokyo's Skyline Viewpoints

8. Greet the New Year with a Sunrise at Tokyo's Skyline Viewpoints

Many Japanese people cherish the tradition of watching the first sunrise of the year on New Year's Day with family, loved ones, or friends. Tokyo, with its numerous skyscrapers and observation spots, is an excellent place for this experience.

At the Takeshiba Passenger Ship Terminal, you can witness the sunrise illuminating the Rainbow Bridge and Odaiba from the boardwalk in front of the central square. In Kasai Rinkai Park, the sunrise near Cinderella's Castle at Tokyo Disneyland can be seen along the coast. The park's expansive area allows for a less crowded viewing experience.

Additionally, locations slightly outside the heart of Tokyo, like Yokohama or Mount Takao, are also recommended for watching the first sunrise. These spots offer a unique perspective and a serene environment to welcome the new year.

9. Join the Countdown Celebration at Tokyo's Citizens' Square - 'HAPPY NEW YEAR TOKYO'

9. Join the Countdown Celebration at Tokyo's Citizens' Square - 'HAPPY NEW YEAR TOKYO'

The countdown event at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Plaza in Nishi-Shinjuku is not to be missed. On December 31st, from 6:20 PM to 7:00 PM, the event kicks off with a dazzling projection mapping light show. Adding to the excitement, singer-songwriter Pikotaro and beloved Sanrio characters, including Hello Kitty, will make appearances to liven up the atmosphere. The finale features a countdown followed by a lantern release. While participation in the lantern release is closed, you can still enjoy the event from the viewing area without prior registration. Best of all, attendance is free!

10. Experience Traditional New Year's Eve at Shrines and Temples in Tokyo

10. Experience Traditional New Year's Eve at Shrines and Temples in Tokyo

While the New Year in Japan features fireworks and lively parties, it is traditionally celebrated by visiting shrines and temples with family and loved ones.

As previously mentioned, Zojoji Temple, set against the backdrop of Tokyo Tower, offers a unique blend of Japanese and Western traditions with its Joya no Kane (New Year's Eve bell ringing) and Hatsumode (first shrine visit of the year). Besides Zojoji, Tokyo is home to many other solemn temples and shrines where you can experience Joya no Kane and Hatsumode.

If you're interested in experiencing these traditional Japanese New Year customs, consider checking if there are any temples or shrines near your accommodation. I encourage you to embrace the traditional Japanese way of celebrating New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, even at less famous temples and shrines.

New Year Hours for Popular Tokyo Area Temples
Sensoji Temple (Taito Ward)
・ Hours: New Year's Eve Bell Ringing from midnight onwards (scheduled), Grounds open
・ Nearest Stations: Asakusa Station (Tobu Skytree Line, Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Tsukuba Express, Toei Subway Asakusa Line)
Zojoji Temple (Minato Ward)
・ Hours: New Year's Eve Bell Ringing from midnight onwards (scheduled), Grounds open
・ Nearest Stations: Hamamatsucho Station (JR, Tokyo Monorail), Onarimon Station / Shiba Koen Station (Toei Subway Mita Line), Daimon Station (Toei Subway Asakusa Line, Toei Subway Oedo Line), Akabanebashi Station (Toei Subway Oedo Line), Kamiyacho Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line
Zenpukuji Temple (Minato Ward)
・Hours: New Year's Eve Bell Ringing from 11:45 PM to around 1 AM, then closed
・Nearest Stations: Azabu-Juban Station (Tokyo Metro Namboku Line, Toei Subway Oedo Line)
Shinagawa Shrine (Shinagawa Ward)
・ Hours: Grounds open
・ Nearest Stations: Shinbamba Station (Keikyu), Shinagawa Station (JR)
Ikegami Honmonji Temple (Ota Ward)
・ Hours: New Year's Eve Bell Ringing starts at 11 PM with ticket distribution, then from midnight onwards, Grounds open
・ Nearest Stations: Ikegami Station (Tokyu Ikegami Line), Nishi-Magome Station (Toei Asakusa Line)
Arai Yakushi Umeshoin Temple (Nakano Ward)
・ Hours: Grounds open
・ Nearest Stations: Nakano Station (JR), Arai Yakushi-mae Station (Seibu Shinjuku Line)
Ikegami Honmon-ji Temple (Toshima Ward)
・ Hours: New Year's Eve Bell Ringing from 11:50 PM onwards (scheduled), Visit from 9 PM to around 3 AM (scheduled)
・ Nearest Stations: Ikebukuro Station (JR), Mejiro Station (JR)
Nishiarai Daishi Temple (Adachi Ward)
・ Hours: New Year's Eve Bell Ringing from midnight onwards (scheduled), Visit from midnight to 9 PM the following day (scheduled)
・ Nearest Stations: Daishi-mae Station (Tobu Daishi Line, Nippori Toneri Liner)
Shibamata Taishakuten Temple (Katsushika Ward)
・ Hours: Grounds open
・ Nearest Stations: Shibamata Station (Keisei Line, Hokuso Railway Shin-Shibamata Station)
Takahata-Fudoson Kongoji Temple (Hino City)
・ Hours: Grounds open
・ Nearest Stations: Takahata Fudo Station (Keio Line, Tama Toshi Monorail)
Tsukiji Hongan-ji Temple (Chuo Ward)
・ Hours: New Year's Eve Bell Ringing from 7 PM onwards (scheduled), Grounds open
・ Nearest Stations: Tsukiji Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line), Shinbashi-machi Station (Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line), Higashi-ginza Station (Toei Subway Asakusa Line), Tsukiji-shijo Station (Toei Subway Oedo Line)

Public Transportation & Traffic on New Year’s in Tokyo

Public Transportation & Traffic on New Year’s in Tokyo

In Tokyo, trains are the main means of transportation. During New Year’s, a lot of companies offer special train schedules to accommodate to partygoers and people looking to do hatsumode, the first shrine or temple visit of the year.

If you’re prepared and check the schedules beforehand, getting around at night or in the early morning will be a breeze!

New Year Hours for Tokyo-Area JR Lines
Chuo-Sobu Line
・ Hours: From 12:30 AM to around 5 AM
・ Approximate intervals: About 10 to 80 minutes (Between Tsudanuma and Chiba, up to 140-minute intervals
Chuo Line (Rapid)
・ Hours: From 12:30 AM to around 4:30 AM
・ Approximate intervals: About 30 to 60 minutes
Keihin Tohoku-Negishi Line
・ Hours: From 1 AM to around 4 AM
・ Approximate intervals: About 20 to 50 minutes
Ome Line
・ Hours: From Tachikawa to Mitake: Tachikawa departs at 2 AM and 3:20 AM, Mitake departs at 3 AM and 4:38 AM (No stops between Miyanohira and Sawai)
Sobu Line-Narita Line
・ Hours: From Chiba to Narita: Chiba departs at 1:20 AM and 3:15 AM, Narita departs at 2:10 AM and 3:55 AM (No stops at Higashi-Chiba Station)
Utsunomiya Line-Yokosuka Line
・ Hours: From Yokohama to Zushi: From 1 AM to around 5 AM
・ Approximate intervals: About 80 minutes
Yamanote Line
・ Hours: From 1 AM to around 5 AM
・ Approximate intervals: About 15 minutes
New Year Hours for Tokyo-Area Subway Lines<br /> (*Generally, last trains are around midnight)
Tokyo Metro
・ Operating on the weekend and holiday schedules from December 30, 2023 to January 3, 2024
Tokyo Sakura Tram (Toden Arakawa Line)
・ On December 29, 2023: Saturday schedule
・ From December 30, 2023 to January 3, 2024: Holiday schedule
Toei Subway Lines
・ Toei Subway lines, as well as the Nippori-Toneri Liner, are operating on weekend and holiday schedules from December 30, 2023 to January 3, 2024
Yokohama Municipal Subway
・ Operating on weekend and holiday schedules from December 30, 2023 to January 3, 2024
New Year Hours for Tokyo-Area Private Railways
Keikyu Line
・ Operating on weekend and holiday schedules from December 30, 2023 to January 3, 2024
・ From January 1, 2024 to January 8, 2024, the Daishi Line will have additional train services for visitors to Kawasaki Daishi, with increased train frequency.
・ Careful: Some stops may have last trains around 10:30 PM.
Keio Line
・ On December 31, 2023, the Keio Line from Shinjuku to Takaosanguchi Station will run all night, with local trains operating at approximately 60-minute intervals.
・ Two special reserved seat trains "Keio Liner New Year Special" will be operated from Shinjuku to Takaosanguchi.
Keisei Line
・ Overnight service will be provided from December 31, 2023 to January 1, 2024 between Keisei Ueno and Keisei Narita, as well as between Oshiage and Keisei Kanamachi.
・ During daytime hours from January 1, 2024 to January 3, 2024, additional trains will be operated to and from Shibamata Station, the nearest station to Shibamata Taishakuten.

・ All night service on December 31, 2023 (Sunday), and special comfortable and convenient "City Liner" trains with Naritasan Kaiun special markings will run from January 1 to 3, 2024, and on Saturdays and holidays in January, as the first shrine visit train to Naritasan Shinshoji.
Odakyu Line
・ Operating on weekend and holiday schedules from December 30, 2023 until the last train on January 3, 2024.
・ Early in the morning on January 1, 2024, special trains, including the Romancecar, will be operated for events like watching the first sunrise and shrine visits in the Enoshima and Kamakura areas.
・ Careful: Some stops may have last trains around midnight.
Seibu Line
・ Operating on Saturday and holiday schedules from December 30, 2023 to January 3, 2024.
・ Careful: Some stops may have last trains around midnight.
Tobu Line
・ Operating on Saturday and holiday schedules from December 30, 2023 to January 3, 2024.
・ From January 1 to 3, 2024, the Daishi Line (from Nishi-Arai to Daishi-mae) will have 42 round trips with intervals of approximately 8 to 10 minutes (normally 10 minutes).
Tokyu Line
・ Operating on Saturday and holiday schedules from December 30, 2023 to January 3, 2024.
・ After the last train on December 31, 2023, special trains (local stops) will be operated on the Tokyu Toyoko Line and Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line starting from Shibuya.

Opening Hours for Department Stores and Shopping Malls during New Year’s

Opening Hours for Department Stores and Shopping Malls during New Year’s

New Year’s is one of the best times to go on a shopping spree in Tokyo. While many shops and restaurants are closed on New Year’s Day, huge bargain and coupon campaigns start on New Year’s Eve and often continue for a couple of days.

One of the characteristics of Japanese New Year’s shopping is lucky bags called “fukubukuro.” All sorts of shops, from clothes to electronics, offer lucky bags at various prices, offering shoppers the chance to get goods worth double, triple, or sometimes tenfold the lucky bag's price! Of course, the obvious downside is that you cannot see what you buy, so it’s a fascinating bargain gamble!

New Year Hours for Popular Tokyo Shops
Daimaru Tokyo Store (Tokyo)
・ December 31st: 10 AM - 6 PM
・ January 1st: Closed
Kitte Marunouchi (Marunouchi)
・ December 31st: 11 AM - 7 PM
・ January 1st: Closed
Nihonbashi Takashimaya S.C. (Nihonbashi)
・ December 31st: 10 AM - 6 PM
・ January 1st: Closed
Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi Main Store (Nihonbashi)
・ December 31st: 2nd to 7th floors: 10 AM - 5 PM, Basement 1st to 1st floor: 10 AM - 6 PM
・ January 1st: Closed
Hankyu Men's Tokyo (Ginza)
・ December 31st: 11 AM - 5 PM
・ January 1st: Closed
Matsuya Ginza (Ginza)
・ December 31st: 11 AM - 6 PM
・ January 1st & 2nd: Closed
Ginza Mitsukoshi (Ginza)
・December 31st: 10 AM - 6 PM
・January 1st: Closed
Lumine Yurakucho (Yurakucho)
・ December 31st: 11 AM - 6 PM
・ January 1st: Closed
Yurakucho Marui (Ginza)
・ December 31st: 11 AM - 6:30 PM
・ January 1st: Closed
Isetan Shinjuku (Shinjuku)
・ December 31st: 10 AM - 5 PM (Food floor: 9 AM - 6 PM)
・ January 1st: Closed
Shinjuku Marui (Shinjuku)
・ December 31st: 11 AM - 6:30 PM
・ January 1st: Closed
Odakyu Department Store Shinjuku Branch (Shinjuku)
・ December 31st: 10 AM - 6 PM
・ January 1st: Closed
Keio Department Store Shinjuku (Shinjuku)
・ December 31st: 10 AM - 6 PM (Basement food sales and 7th-floor event space: 9 AM - )
・ January 1st: Closed
Shinjuku Takashimaya (Shinjuku)
・ December 31st: 10 AM - 6 PM (Basement food sales: 9:30 AM - )
・ January 1st: Closed
Shinjuku Lumine (Shinjuku)
・ December 31st: 11 AM - 6 PM
・ January 1st: Closed
Shinjuku Mylord (Shinjuku)
・ December 31st: Closed
・ January 1st: Closed
Tobu Department Store Ikebukuro Branch (Ikebukuro)
・ December 31st: 10 AM - 6 PM (Basement 1st and 2nd-floor food sales: 9 AM - 7 PM)
・ January 1st: Closed
Seibu Ikebukuro Main Store (Ikebukuro)
・ December 31st: 10 AM - 7 PM (Basement 1st and 2nd floors of Seibu Food Hall: 9:30 AM - )
・ January 1st: 10 AM - 8 PM (Some brands will open on January 2nd)
Sunshine City Alpa (Ikebukuro)
・ December 31st, January 1st: 10 AM - 6 PM (Some stores may have different hours)

Advice & Tips for Enjoying New Years in Tokyo

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

1. How to Avoid Crowded Trains and Stations During New Year's Eve & Day

・Visiting Senso-ji Temple for Hatsumode
To reach Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa Station is the nearest, served by four lines: the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Toei Asakusa Line, Tobu Skytree Line, and Tsukuba Express. While the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, passing through major stations like Shibuya, Ginza, and Ueno, is convenient, it also tends to be crowded due to heavy passenger traffic. A good strategy might be to alight at Tawaramachi Station, one stop before Asakusa on the Ginza Line, which is about 550 meters from Senso-ji. However, remember that to visit Senso-ji Temple, you must enter from the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) side, which means you cannot bypass Nakamise Street.

・Visiting Meiji Shrine for Hatsumode
JR Harajuku Station, the convenient station for visiting Meiji Shrine, gets extremely crowded on New Year's Day. Nearby, there’s also Meiji-jingumae Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda and Fukutoshin Lines. Another way to access Meiji Shrine is via a 3-minute walk from Odakyu Line's Sangubashi Station or a 5-minute walk from JR Yamanote and Sobu Lines' Yoyogi Station, to avoid Harajuku Station.

Generally, on trains, areas near stairs or ticket gates on platforms tend to be more crowded. Upon reaching the platform, don’t stop immediately; instead, move to less crowded areas to wait for the train. Depending on the line and train, the first or last cars are often less crowded.

2. What's the Weather Like in January, and What Should I Pack?

・Weather in Tokyo in January
January in Tokyo averages a high of 9.4°C (48.9°F) and a low of 1.1°C (34°F) based on 2022 data. During the day, the sunlight can make it feel less cold, but temperatures drop significantly after sunset. Snow or heavy rain is rare in Tokyo during the New Year period, but especially at night, the north wind can make it feel colder than the actual temperature.

・Recommended clothing for Tokyo in January
For outdoor events like countdown parties, Joya no Kane (New Year's Eve bell ringing), and Hatsumode (first shrine visit of the year), scarves, gloves, and preferably knit hats or ear muffs are essential. Wear a down coat or a thick wool coat, and consider layering with a light down vest underneath for extra warmth. Thermal underwear can also be effective for cold protection. Don't forget to carry hand warmers for long hours outdoors.

3. How to Deal with Crowded Toilets and Luggage?

・Convenient bathroom congestion checker!
On New Year's Eve, restrooms in stations and public facilities can get crowded, leading to wait times. The "Tokyo Metro my! app" is a handy solution. Although available only in Japanese, it provides restroom vacancy information at Shinjuku, Hibiya, Yurakucho, Ueno, and Tameike-Sanno stations. The interface is straightforward, showing the number of available restrooms, and is easy to understand as long as you know the station names in Japanese.

・Bag storage
If you plan to go directly to a countdown event or Hatsumode (first shrine visit of the year) after shopping, you might want to store your bags. Station coin lockers are a good option, but they might be full (you can check coin locker availability here).

A convenient alternative is "ecbo cloak" (available in Japanese, English, and Chinese), a service that lets you store luggage or shopping bags in unused spaces at shops near stations. You can reserve a spot online by selecting the area, shop, and date, and then check in your bags by having the shop take a photo of them. This service allows you to enjoy your outing hands-free.

You can check the availability online and reserve your spot to ensure storage. However, be aware that some locations might be closed or have reduced hours on New Year's Eve, so it's best to check in advance.

New Year Celebrations in Japan

While some countries host grand fireworks displays and celebratory events on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, Japan's New Year celebrations are relatively tranquil. Many people return to their hometowns to spend time with family. Even those who don't travel often visit temples to ring the Joya no Kane (New Year's Eve bell) and visit temples and shrines for Hatsumode (the first shrine visit of the year) to peacefully express gratitude for the past year and celebrate the new one.

On New Year's Eve, many restaurants and stores reduce their hours, and on New Year's Day, they are often closed or have limited hours. However, you can still enjoy visiting shrines and temples, participate in countdown events, and attend New Year events.

The first sale day of the year offers the excitement of purchasing lucky bags or enjoying sales at various stores. Use this guide to fully enjoy the New Year in Japan.

Lastly, a note on dining options: Chain restaurants, fast food outlets, and ramen shops often remain open on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. It’s a good idea to check their opening hours in advance and consider touring these chain outlets for meals throughout the day!

(The information in this article is current as of December 2023. Please check official websites for the latest information.)

*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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