Tokyo events for Monday, January 1 to Sunday, January 7, 2024.
Wow, that was fast. 2024 has finally arrived and that means the temples and shrines in Tokyo are about to get a lot busier.
Many in Japan will take part in hatsumōde — the first visit to a shrine or temple of the year — and there will be entertainment to accommodate this pilgrimage across Tokyo. Remember that January 8 is also a holiday, Coming of Age Day, so expect festivities to last till then.
First Shrine Visit of the New Year with WeLearn
Kick off the year on a positive note and join a special group visit to a local shrine in Akihabara. Hatsumōde in Japanese is the first shrine or temple visit of the year and has great importance in Japan. If you are unsure of the customs or just want to embrace the New Year in a friendly and welcoming environment, then join the WeLearn Community on January 6.
Seven Lucky Gods Pilgrimage
From New Year’s Day and for the first ten days of the year you can join local tradition in visiting shrines of the Seven Lucky Gods. There doesn’t appear to be an organized event as such, more of a solo cultural experience, but it’s a good opportunity to explore the city on foot. Read our full guide about the pilgrimage and the various routes around Tokyo.
Torigoe Shrine Tondoyaki Bonfire
Bring your used New Year’s decorations to Torigoe Shrine for Tondoyaki, a ceremonial burning, or watch others do so. It is said that if the smoke blows over you, you’ll have a year’s good health. As Monday, January 8 is a holiday, we’ve included this event in the roundup to make sure you don’t miss it.
Michibiki Exhibition at Jinny Street Gallery
Dozens of streetlights get an artistic twist on the streets of Shibuya’s Jingu Gaien area. Jinny Street Gallery and NININI Bar and Gallery are collaborating to bring you a unique exhibition based on michibiki, which means beacon or guiding light in Japanese.
Ashigakubo Icicles Illumination
From early January to late February every year, icicles and other interesting shapes appear in Yokoze, Saitama. On Fridays, weekends, and holidays, the area will also be lit up, creating an eerily beautiful frozen wonderland. Tickets cost ¥500 for the illumination event on Fridays, weekends, and holidays (5:00 p.m. to 8 p.m.) and ¥400 any other time from 9 a.m.
Geikosai New Year’s Festival
One of the three annual festivals at Yakuoin Temple on Mount Takao, this is a memorable way to see in the New Year. Beginning at midnight and continuing until 5 p.m. that day, multiple goma fire rituals are performed to cleanse and purify for the new year in front of the statue of Izuna Daigongen — the image on display in the main hall.
New Year at Tokyo’s Gardens
Eight metropolitan gardens in Tokyo open and host special events to celebrate the start of the New Year. Each garden will have a special event including New Year’s decorations, children’s play areas, and commemorative photo spots. At Hamarikyu Gardens, there will be a falconry display.
Daikon Radish Festival
Every year on January 7 at Matsuchiyama Shoden in Asakusa, there is a service for the god Shōden where daikon radishes are offered up as a symbol of his work. But the festival doesn’t stop there; soon after, the daikon is chopped up and made into a special dish called furofuki — sliced radish with miso sauce on top — and given to visitors.
Hatsumōde Grand Prayer Festival at Ryusenji Temple
Celebrate the beginning of 2024 in Japan by participating in the tradition of hatsumōde — the first visit to a shrine or temple of the year. Ryusenji is one of only three great temples in Japan that both ward off misfortune and bring good luck — making it a very popular destination for New Year wishes. The festival includes the oldest daruma doll market in the prefecture, food, games, and other pop-up stalls scattered around.
Yoyogi Park Flea Market
One of Tokyo’s biggest — and most irregular — flea markets. If it happens to well, happen, while you’re here, you might be lucky enough to find hundreds of vendors, peddling everything from clothes to pottery and other crafts, antiques, and tasty snacks.