Cheapo Weekend for January 3-4: Oshougatsu Edition

Carey Finn

379004854_6e8f241f61_bWelcome to the first weekend of 2015. Ease into the new year with a stroll to see Japan’s 7 Lucky Gods, browse the antiques in Ueno, go cheapo crazy with the wild winter sales, or keep yourself warm and in good spirits with one of these other fun ideas.

While celebrating the New Year typically involves champagne (or at least budget sparkling wine/vinegar) and debauchery where we’re from, here in Japan oshougatsu is traditionally a quieter family event that involves eating special osechi ryori and visiting a shrine to set the tone for the coming months. That said, there’s still a lot happening around Tokyo.

If you’re brave enough to throw yourself into the throngs, the Winter Sales are an excellent opportunity to pick up clothes, appliances and just about anything else you can imagine, for up to 50-70% off the original prices. You can also buy mysterious fukubukuro, lucky bags loaded with who knows what.


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The twice-monthly Oedo Antique Market kicks off its 2015 cycle on Sunday, and is a great spot to scrounge for treasures. Also on this Sunday is the Museum of Modern Art‘s monthly Free Admission Day, if you fancy a peek. Other ideas for the weekend include checking out the on-going Winter Illuminations, or chilling at one of Tokyo’s ice rinks.

And if you’re looking to do something mellow with a cultural twist, try the Taito 7 Lucky Gods Pilgrimage. There are three walking courses, all of which are easy to do from Ueno. You can read more about these gods of good fortune, Japan’s shichifukujin, here.


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