New Year's Holiday is by far the most important holiday of Japan. Traditionally people go back to their family home and spend holiday season as a family. In Tokyo many people went back home for the holiday season, so many shops will be closed or operated on unusual schedule. For the temples and shrines they will be very crowded because it is common to do Hatsumoude (the first visit of the year to the temple or shrines) during the New Year's Holiday. Planning sightseeing this time can be very tricky, so I made a list of New Year's Holiday schedule of major places. I hope it will help you in someway. Also I add some special event info during this time of year at those places too, so have fun planning!!

Sensoji Temple

Regular Hours

Basically open 24/7, but the temple closes at night
Nakamise shopping street right in front of Sensoji Temple closes soon after dark.

New Year's Event

They are open as usual, but it will be crowded with people of all ages doing the hatsumode (first visit to the shrine of the year). According to a survey, about 300 million people visit the temple between Jan 1st to Jan 3rd . Sounds fun...but you will be experiencing compression from all directions. Be careful when you raise your arm; you might hit someone in the face. That is how crowded it will be. Nevertheless, the atmosphere is superb, everyone glowing in smiles and looking forward to the year ahead.


5 min walk from Asakusa Station on Ginza Line
7 min walk from Asakusa Station on Toei Subway Asakusa Line

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Hamarikyu Garden

Hamarikyu, a traditional Japanese garden with a pond and teahouse in the center of the garden. You can enjoy a cup of matcha (green tea) and sweets, the seasonal flowers and a serene, relaxing atmosphere.

New Year's Event

The Garden will be closed Dec 29th to Jan 1st.
There will be a special New Year event on Jan 2nd and 3rd!

Demonstration of Falconer


11:00 and 14:00 (show will take about an hour)


Uchibori (Inner Moat) plaza inside the Garden
This place was used as the falconry ground for Tokugawa Shogun. You will be able to the see actual falconer, the beautiful falcon and their superb demonstration for free at the New Year event. Remember to be there early to get good spots! Also there will be some food stalls that sell Amazake, hot sweet Sake, which kids can drink, or soup to warm your body.

Traditional Japanese New Year Toy Experience


10:00 – 16:00


Open Square inside of the Garden.
Experience traditional toys and games of Japanese New Year such as Hanetsuki, which is a sport very similar to Badminton, or Koma (top) and etc. The garden staff will explain how to play, they will use Japanese, but I think you can guess^^ This is a very rare chance to see these Japanese traditional games and toys!!


9:00 – 16:30 (Garden closes at 17:00)


Adult 300 yen
65+ 150yen
Child (under 6) Free


35 min Water Bus ride from Asakusa
7 min walk from Tsukiji Shijo Station on Toei Oedo Line

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Tsukiji Fish Market


3 min walk from Tsukiji Station on Hibiya Line
1 min walk from Tsukiji Shijo Station on Oedo Line

Regular Hours

4:30 – Noon
The outer market closes later than the inner market.

New Year's

The Market will be closed!!!!!
Around New Year's Holiday the Market will be closed on
Dec 31st, Jan 1st, Jan 2nd, Jan 3rd, Jan 4th.
Most of the outer area and restaurants as well><
People's Visit

Imperial Palace


2 min walk from Nijubashi Station on Chiyoda Line
10 min walk from Hibiya Station on Hibiya Line

New Year's Event

Jan 2nd People's visit to the Palace


9:30 – 14:10

The Emperor's appearance at the balcony

10:10, 11:00, 11:50, 13:00, 14:20
The Imperial Family members will appear at the balcony during the above times.
The public are allowed to cross the double bridge and see the Imperial Family at the Imperial Palace only twice a year. The atmosphere is also great as you will able to feel how much the Imperial Family is loved by Japanese.

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Akihabara Area

Electronic shops, anime, figurine shops, maid cafes, etc.
Most of the shops and restaurants are closed or have limited business hours during New Year's
It is safe to avoid to go to Akihabara Area around this time of the year.

Shibuya(Hachiko dog statue, Shibuya Crossing, shopping center 109)

Shibuya is the place where the latest fashions are sold in department stores like 109.

Shibuya 109

Dec 31st open, but it usually closes early at around 20:00
Jan 1st Closed
Jan 2nd and Jan 3rd: 11:00 -20:00
New Year Sales (Hatsu-uri) are the thing to look out for during New Year! Fukubukuros (Lucky Bag) will be sold at almost all departmental stores and shops. A fukubukuro is a mystery package that contains random items of the shop. You are not allowed to peek into the bags, but the mystery bag is usually much cheaper than the individual items added up together.
For example, if you go to a shop that sells clothes, the mystery bag usually contains a shirt, a pair of long pants, a jacket, a tie, a pair of shoes and socks. If you were to buy all the items individually, it would easily cost more than 40,000 yen. BUT, with the magical Fukubukuro, you get it at 10,000 ~ 20,000 yen. Of course, the only thing you can choose is your size, not the colour or design.

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Meiji Jingu

Harajuku Area(Meiji Jingu Shrine, Takeshita Shopping Street)

Meiji Jingu Shrine


The gate of shrine opens at sunrise and closes at sunset.


3 min walk from Harajyuku Station

New Year's Event

This is the most popular shrine to visit during the New Year. Every year, more than 3 million people visit the Meiji Shrine. It will be a great experience at the shrine once!

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Takeshita Shopping Street

Most shops along the Takeshita street open during the the New Year.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Observatory

Tokyo metropolitan government building observatory
between Dec 29th to Jan 3rd will be closed.
Let's enjoy the tour with us on New year in Tokyo!
Discover the Heart of Tokyo tour covers Asakusa, Hamarikyu, Tsukiji fish market and Imperial palace in one day.
Tokyo Traditions and Trends tour covers Asakusa, Akihabara, Shibuya, Meiji shrine and Shinjuku.