Happy New Year! If you want to kick off the month of January with some fun, start with these events.

For more information on how to welcome 2024 the Japanese way, check out our guide to Japanese New Year customs and traditions.

For the top events in Tokyo throughout the year, check out our complete guide — organized by month.

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1. Hatsumōde

January 1–10
All over Tokyo and beyond

Expect crowds on the first few days of the year at popular Tokyo shrines like Meiji Jingu. | Photo by iStock.com/magicflute002

Ring in 2024 with the Japanese tradition of hatsumōde, the first shrine or temple visit of the year (usually from January 1 to 3). You can pray for blessings and wealth for the future at various temples and shrines around Tokyo, but you may want to avoid the most popular spots — Sensō-ji Temple, Zōjō-ji Temple, Meiji Shrine, and Kanda Myōjin Shrine — if you don’t like crowds!

There will also be performances, ceremonial burnings, daruma doll markets, and other festivities around this time at temples and shrines. Here are some event highlights:

2. January Grand Sumo Tournament

January 14–28
Ryōgoku Kokugikan, Ryōgoku

Get up-close-and-personal with a ringside seat. | Photo by Alex Ziminski

Held every January, this is the first of Japan’s six annual sumo tournaments, known as honbasho. While the fights are broadcast on NHK, nothing beats the atmosphere of the tense final matches of the day. See how to get sumo tickets.

3. Tokyo Auto Salon

January 12–14
Makuhari Messe, Chiba

Practical? No. Fun? Yes. | Photo by David Ishikawa

One of the biggest car shows in the world, Tokyo Auto Salon is for anyone who is into customizing or personalizing their car, or for those who enjoy seeing how other people customize their rides. The event will feature not only new and upcoming cars, but also the latest technologies, accessories, parts, and related merchandise. The first day (January 12) is Business Day, which means that it’s only open to industry insiders and the press, but if you have a premium ticket (which will be sold in limited quantities), you too can visit from 2:00 p.m.

4. Earth Garden Winter Festival

January 20–21
Yoyogi Park Zelkova Trees, Shibuya

earth winter garden
Pick up some wares at this sustainable festival. | Photo by iStock.com/Roman Babakin

Earth Garden Winter Festival is a two-day outdoor market at Yoyogi Park. The food, workshops, and products being offered all promote ecological living — so you can feel good about going and also what you bring home. The event square will also have a stream of musical performances spanning both days.

5. Setagaya Boroichi Market

January 15–16
Boroichi Dori (Street), Setagaya

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boroichi market crowds
A crowd of visitors among the Boroichi Market stalls. | Photo by iStock.com/LewisTsePuiLung

We are known for our list of good-value flea markets to visit in Tokyo, and this is at the top of that list. As one of the biggest of the year, Setagaya Boroichi Market takes place twice, both in January and December. More than 700 vendors sell a variety of used goods, antiques, handicrafts, religious artifacts, and food to approximately 200,000 visitors.

Bonus events: Winter illuminations

Many illuminations will continue lighting up the city well into the new year. Here are some of our top picks:

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. This post, which was first published in December 2016, is updated annually. Last update: December 17, 2023, by Alex Ziminski.

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