Ever Wondered How Japanese Spend The New Year?

Celebrating the New Year in Japan happens at the stroke of midnight or even in the day of. The celebration lasts for days. Government offices, banks, and businesses usually take about a week off (from about December 28th to January 3rd) for the end-of-the-year and new year holidays, with many people adding on personal vacation time to stretch the vacation all the way through January 6th or 7th. See this article for a list of new year holiday closures.


photo credit to: https://jw-webmagazine.com

One of the most popular temples in Tokyo to join in joya-no-kane is Tsukiji Honganji, near Tsukiji Station on the Hibiya line. Participation is limited to the first 350 people. After the actual prayer service, you’ll get a chance to ring the bell if you have lined up early enough to get a ticket.


If you happen to be in Kyoto, you have even more temples to choose from, including: Chion-in (Higashiyama Ward), where it takes a team of 17 monks to ring the city’s largest temple bell.


Not to mention that a hot bowl of noodles will warm you up on a cold new year’s eve. However, it’s considered bad luck to eat them in the new year, so remember to finish your noodles before midnight.


This is a very easy dish to cook and there are many recipes online in English. However, if you would like to participate in this custom and are particularly unmotivated to fire up your stove, you can also hop into your local conbini and buy ready-made cold soba noodles and slurp those down instead. Just remember they’ll be cold. Yes, zaru soba, is a summer noodle dish, but some convenience stores sell them in the winter, too.


The sun is set to rise at about 6:51AM on new year’s day 2019. Popular places to see the sunrise in Tokyo include: Mt. Takao or any tall building. However, you had to have planned ahead if you are thinking of seeing the sun rise from structures like Tokyo Tower, Roppongi Hills, or SkyTree. These buildings usually hold a lottery for admission in the early part of December (but you can always plan ahead for 2020).


But if there is one takeaway about new year’s in Japan, it is that the new year holidays are all about family. A lot of this involves going to your parents or extended family’s home, cooking, and enjoying traditional new year foods, hanging out, and catching up after a long year.




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