Happy New Year, Cheapos! If you want to kick off the month of January with some fun, start with these events. And if you want to welcome 2023 the Japanese way, check out our post on Japanese New Year customs and traditions, such as hatsumōde (the first temple/shrine visit of the year) and hatsuhinode (seeing the first sunrise).
1. 7 Lucky Gods Pilgrimage (Jan. 1–10)
Ring in the new year by setting off on a Seven Lucky Gods Pilgrimage—a tradition dating back to Tokyo’s Edo period to pray for blessings and wealth for the upcoming year at various temples and shrines. The pilgrimage is usually completed anytime before the 10th of January—either solo or with others. Follow this link for popular pilgrimage routes in the Yanaka, Shinjuku, Nihonbashi and Shinagawa areas.
Seven Lucky Gods Pilgrimage
2. January Grand Sumo Tournament (Jan. 8–22)
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. Tickets can be purchased online.
January Grand Sumo Tournament
3. Tokyo Auto Salon (Jan. 13–15)
One of the biggest car shows in the world, Tokyo Auto Salon is for anyone who is into customizing or personalising their car, or for those who enjoy seeing how other people customize their rides.
Tokyo Auto Salon
|Advance sales: ¥3,000|
4. Earth Garden Winter Festival
A two-day outdoor market at Yoyogi Park where 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.
Earth Garden Winter Festival
5. Chinese New Year (Jan. 22–Feb 5)
Yokohama’s Chinatown know how to put on a party, and the Lunar New Year — also known as the Spring Festival — is one of the biggest celebrations of the year. Over the course of 15 days, there will be countdown events, lion dances, acrobatics, and other traditional events such as the much-anticipated Lantern Festival.
Chinese Spring Festival 2024
Bonus events: Winter illuminations
Many illumination events will continue lighting up the city well into the new year.
Tokyo Mega Illumination
Ebisu Garden Place Illumination
Kioi Winter 22/23
Marunouchi Illumination 2023
This post is updated annually. Last update: December 27, 2022.
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