Tokyo events for Monday, January 8 to Sunday, January 14, 2024.
New Year traditions continue into January as daruma — round dolls designed to represent the founder of Zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma — are burnt around Tokyo and an ice water ritual makes an appearance in Akihabara.
But if you’re more geared towards the fast and furious, then check out the modified cars at Tokyo Auto Salon.
Ōme Daruma Market
On the old Ōme Highway, just outside of Ōme Station, daruma dolls are sold in mass at the nearly 200-year-old Ōme Daruma Market. As well as stalls that are open from 1:30 p.m. until the evening, you can also watch daruma being burnt on the precincts of Sumiyoshi Shrine (a 3-minute walk from the station) — look out for a free gift if you offer up your own daruma doll.
Kamimizo (Mizono) Daruma Market
This is a friendly neighborhood festival with a fiery twist. There will be plenty of sales of daruma dolls — from big to small (reservations are required for the big ones) — dances, and a bonfire to say goodbye to a pile of daruma dolls (around 300 to 500) who’ve completed their duties.
Tokyo Auto Salon
Tokyo Auto Salon, one of the biggest motor shows in the world, is coming back to Makuhari Messe and will showcase modified and tuned cars. Think MTV’s Pimp My Ride, but more luxurious. The event isn’t exactly Cheapo, but it’s a must-see if you’re really into cars/things you’ll never be able to afford.
|Advance sales: ¥3,000
Daikoku — a god of fortune — is offering up some good luck blessings to set your year off right at this traditional festival. A highlight of the festival includes a bone-chilling (literally) purification ceremony where participants will douse themselves in ice water.
January Grand Sumo Tournament
Held every January, this is the first of Japan’s six sumo tournaments, known as honbasho. With sumo rankings released a few weeks before, it’s a chance to see the traditional sport up close and personal. While the fights are broadcast on NHK, nothing beats the atmosphere of the tense final matches of the day, complete with cushion-throwing and cheers.
Matsuda Wintersweet Festival
In Matsuda’s Yadoriki area, a huge field of over 1,000 wintersweet shrubs can be found. During this period countless yellow flowers will bloom, providing a unique sight, and a distinct lovely fragrance. In past years, over 20,000 people attended with a small souvenir area and cafe.
|At the door: ¥500
Japanese Whisky 3-Day Tour in Chichibu
From February 7 to 9, visit the distillery that distributes Ichiro’s Malt and see the natural wonders of Chichibu. Taste exquisite Japanese whisky at a distillery normally closed to the public. You can also expect a warm journey down a river, a visit to see icicles, incredible dinner courses with alcohol accompaniments, bar hopping, and a tour of a sake brewery.
|Advance sales: ¥200,000