2022 — a year that has been both very long and all too short — is coming to a close. But before that clock hits midnight on December 31, try out some of these festivities.

Remember, December is the month of winter illuminations and Christmas markets. If you are looking for a New Year countdown party, then check out our NYE guide.

1. Mutek Japan 2022 (Dec. 7–11)

Mutek is a hard to pigeon-hole five-day music festival that combines electronic music, art and technology (hence the name — Music + Technology). Events are spread out over multiple venues in Shibuya with tickets for individual sessions available for as low as ¥2,000.

2. FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ (until Dec. 19)

world cup football
Photo by iStock.com/Karim Khalaf

Despite its controversy, there will still be many people across the world — and that includes Japan — tuning in to the 64 games of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. Pubs, bars, shopping centers, and hotels across Tokyo will be providing free public viewings of matches. But if you aren’t into socializing, you can always watch it for free on Abema.

3. Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks (Dec. 7–24)

Odaiba Fireworks | Photo by istock.com/magicflute002

After three years with no fireworks in the sky, Christmas is finally coming back to Odaiba. Already a romantic spot, the Seaside Park in front of Decks Shopping Mall will be filled to the brim with couples every weekend in December (except the 31st). While they only last for five minutes, it’s still worth the visit — plus there’s plenty of other things to do in Odaiba while you’re there.

4. Hagoita-ichi Fairs (Dec. 17–19)

Hagoita | Photo by Grigoris Miliaresis

Hagoita are wooden paddles that were once used to play hanetsuki, a Japanese badminton-like game. Over time, they became regarded as an auspicious symbol — they’re used for hitting, after all, so maybe they could “hit” bad luck as well; get it? Thus, at the Sensoji Temple’s Hagoita Market and Kasukabe Hagoita Market you’ll see elaborate, purely ornamental hagoita, which are meant to welcome good luck and drive away bad luck.

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5. Winter Comiket (Dec. 30–31)

If you’re into Japanese pop culture, comics, and cosplay, be sure not to miss Winter Comiket, the major geeky year-ender. This event draws tons of doujinshi (fan-made comics) collectors, cosplayers, and photographers every year, so be prepared for crowds and queues (yes, even to take photos of the more popular cosplayers).

While pre-COVID Comikets were four days long, for 2022 the event will be two days only. Although entry technically used to be free, that’s no longer the case. Tickets for “early entry” (getting in before everyone else) are ¥5,000, regular entry tickets are ¥1,500, and afternoon tickets are a reasonable ¥500.

If you plan to cosplay, the entry price is ¥2,000. Read our guide to cosplaying at Comiket to learn about Japanese cosplay event etiquette and what to expect.

Bonus December events for 2022

Christmas markets

While we have a whole article detailing the best of 2022’s Christmas markets, our favorites are:

Other noteworthy events

Chichibu Night Festival/Yomatsuri
There will be fireworks at the Chichibu Night Festival | Photo by iStock.com/JoshuaHawley
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Filed under: Events | Things to do
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