Published On: Wed, Oct 29th, 2014

Visiting Japan during New Year

You’ll have the chance to experience shogatsu, the most important Japan’s holiday if you’re visiting Japan during New Year. Even so, visiting Japan during this time could also be frustrating, since getting around would be inconvenient because plenty of tourist attractions, restaurants, and shops are closed. The most common activities on New Year’s Eve include visiting a temple or shrine around midnight. In the recent years, countdown parties have become more common thing to do in large cities, yet fireworks still remain uncommon attractions for Japanese.

visiting japan during new year




If you’re in Japan during New Year, you will be able to do hatsumode, which is first visit to a temple or shrine in the New Year. Normally every temple and shrine across Japan held Hatsumode festivities during the first few days of the year, usually on January 1.  You’ll be able to experience a festive atmosphere at popular temples and shrines with many visitors lining up at the main hall for a prayer and plenty of food stands outside. You may also purchase a new lucky charms and dispose the past year charms while praying for a better new year.  The atmosphere at temples or shrines is best around midnight during New Year’s eve as the bell is rung repeatedly.





Emperor’s New Year Greeting Event

When you’re visiting Japan during New Year, you should visit Tokyo Imperial Palace. On January 2, the Emperor and his family make several public appearances at Tokyo Imperial Palace . Beside the Emperor’s birthday on December 23, the New Year’s greeting is the only time that the inner palace’s grounds are opened for public during the year.  The Emperor and his family members will appear on a glass protected balcony five times a day at 10:10, 11:00, 11:50, and then at 13:30 and 14:20. They’ll briefly speak then wave to the crowd.



International and domestic travel activity is quite intense on the New Year holidays, since a lot of people visit their families or undertake overseas or domestic trips. The travel activity is particularly intense during December 29 to December 31 and also during January 2 to January 4 as many people leave the big cities then return home afterwards. During these times of year, the expressways, trains, and the airports would get very congested.



Many stores, tourist attractions, banks and ATM’s, and also numerous restaurants are closed during these days, which limit your dining, sightseeing, and shopping choices, particularly on January 1. Museums are usually also closed for several days on holiday season. For gardens and castles, not a nationwide pattern could be recognized, and some of them are close on multiple days, while others close on a single day and some are close not at all. Shrines and temples usually never close during New Year.


Stores and restaurants normally close on January 1, yet are open on every other days during New Year’s holidays. In the recent years, an increasing number of stores stay open even on the January 1, particularly in malls and modern shopping districts of larger cities. So, if you’re visiting Japan during new year, you could choose to dine in hotel restaurants, most of fast food chains or restaurants in the modern shopping districts and malls.

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- the man who love japan , culture, people ^_^

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