Tokyo events, Asakusa, Shinjuku, Tokyo food for foodies

Top 10: Event Guide to Must-See Events in Tokyo  January 2018 (w/Photos)

Tokyo has countless historical and cultural sites, such as shrines, art museums, gardens, and picturesque towns. While exploring these sites, we recommend attending the various events held around Tokyo because there is always something going on! In this article, we will feature events in Tokyo held during January.

Traditional Festivals

1. Asakusa Shrine Hatsumode — From January 1, 2018

Asakusa Shrine is commonly referred to as “Sanjasama”. Many people attend the Saitan Festival on January 1st, starting from 11 AM, and the Genshi Festival on January 3rd, from 10 AM, at Asakusa Shrine. Originally, Asakusa Shrine and Sensoji were one and the same, but they were later segregated following the separation of Shinto and Buddhist gods and Asakusa Shrine is now located behind Sensoji. Visitors pray for various good fortunes during hatsumode (first visit to a shrine for the new year), but Asakusa Shrine visitors may specifically pray for the following: household safety, traffic safety, company safety, construction safety, personal and business prosperity, victory, good health, safe delivery, and academic success, among other wishes. We recommend travelers to attend hatsumode and pray for good luck in the upcoming year.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

From January 1, 2018

Saitan Festival: January 1, 11:00 AM and on

Genshi Festival: January 3, 10:00 AM and on

・Scheduled Programs During Event

Access and Address

・Location

Asakusa Shrine

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Station(例:原宿駅より徒歩5分)

7 minute walk from Asakusa Station on Toei Asakusa Line, Ginza Line, and Tobu Isesaki Line

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Hub Station(例:東京駅より山手線で約15分)

15 minutes from Tokyo Station via Ueno Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line

・Address                2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Free admission and reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www.asakusajinja.jp/

2. Meiji Jingu Hatsumode — From January 1, 2018


Source: flickr

Meiji Jingu was built to celebrate the spirit of the Meiji Emperor and Empress. Over 3 million people visit the shrine for hatsumode during the first three days of the new year and it regularly ranks as the most visited shrine in Japan. At Meiji Jingu, visitors pray for the well-being of the imperial family, world peace, household safety, business fortune, romantic fortune, health and well-being, traffic safety, and academic success, among other wishes. The shrine is encompassed by a lush forest, named “Yoyogi No Mori”, which was raised from over 100,000 trees donated by the public. The shrine grounds also contain a treasure house, treasure exhibit, Meiji Jingu culture center, and Kakuuntei (tea house). Make sure to explore the grounds and absorb the sacred atmosphere.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

From January 1, 2018

Shrine hours:            1st 0:00-19:00 (visitors can enter the shrine all night on New Year’s Eve)

2nd and 3rd 6:40-18:30

4th 6:40-18:00

5th 6:40-17:30

*The above times are tentative and may be subject to change

・Scheduled Programs During Event

Access and Address

・Location

Meiji Jingu

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Station

Walking distance from Harajuku Station and Yoyogi Station on JR Yamanote Line; Sangubashi Station on Odakyu Odawara Line; and Meiji Jingu-mae ‘Harajuku’ Station, Kita-Sando Station, and Yoyogi Station on Tokyo Metro.

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Hub Station

25 minutes from Tokyo Station on Yamanote Line

・Address                1-1 Yoyogi Kamizono-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Shrine visit is free and reservations are not required

500 yen facility maintenance fee for gyoen and treasure exhibition

Official Website

http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/

3. Yushima Tenmangu (Yushima Tenjin) Hatsumode — January 1, 2017 through January 7, 2017


Source: flickr

Yushima Tenmangu was established in AD 458 and a new building, sculpted from Japanese cypress, was erected in 1995. The Shinto god of Yushima Tenmangu, Tenjin, is served by a cow — hence the cow statue in the shrine. Legend says that if you rub the statue, it will bring forth good fortune. The shrine appears in Hiroshige Ando’s famed ukiyo-e print, “Edo Hyakkei”, and it’s a fun exercise to identify sections of the shrine that appear in the picture. Yushima Tenmangu honors Sugawarano Michizane, a god of academics; thus, many students and their families visit the shrine to pray for academic success. Don’t forget to purchase the special pencil that will provide extra luck for your next test.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

January 1st through 7th

January 1st 0:00 and on

Various festivals to pray for academic success, safety, and general health and well-being

January 1st 9:00 and on            Gantan Festival

・Scheduled Programs During Event

Access and Address

・Location

Yushima Tenmangu (Yushima Tenjin)

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Station

2 minute walk from Yushima Station on Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Hub Station

15 minutes from Nijubashi Station on Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, which is a short walk from Tokyo Station

・Address

3-30-1 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Free admission and reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www.yushimatenjin.or.jp/

4. Torikoe Shrine Tondoyaki — January 8, 2018


Source:flickr

Tondoyaki is a traditional festival to send off the gods after new year’s celebrations (specifically, January 7th). Participants gather and burn shimenawa or decorative straw ropes in a large bonfire. The smoke and flames are said to bestow good health and well-being for the upcoming year. Torikoe Shrine hosts the festival on January 8th, in accordance with Edo traditions. Before lighting the bonfire, the surrounding buildings are dowsed with water for fire proofing and the chief priest recites a prayer before igniting the bonfire. The roaring fire is a sight to behold. Once the flames subside, children beat the ground with bamboo sticks calling “Tondo ya Tondo” and roast mochi on the sticks. Tondoyaki is an event full of energy and warmth!

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

January 8, 2018 (Monday / Holiday)

From 13:00 and on

・Scheduled Programs During Event

Access and Address

・Location

Torikoe Shrine

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Station

8 minute walk from JR Asakusa Bashi Station

5 minute walk from Kuramae Station on Toei Subway

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Hub Station

From Tokyo Station, take the Keihin Tohoku Line to Akihabara Station. At Akihabara, transfer to Chuo Sobu Line and ride for 10 minutes to Asakusa Bashi Station

・Address

2 chome Torikoe, Taito-ku, Tokyo

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Free admission and reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www004.upp.so-net.ne.jp/kab_ra/

Nature Events

5. SKY CIRCUS Observation Deck Sunshine 60 New Year’s Sunrise Special — January 1, 2018


Source: SunshineCity Corporation

A special event to watch the sunrise on New Year’s Day from the SKY CIRCUS observation deck, which is located 251 meters above sea level in the Sunshine 60 skyscraper in Ikebukuro. This special event has a maximum capacity of 400 people. The main draw is the breathtaking view of the rising sun and sweeping cityscape. The event will feature a calligraphy performance, “Tradition x Innovation”, by Chosho Yabe, a calligraphy activist based in the “little Edo” city of Kawagoe. A commemorative souvenir will also be presented to attendees. Watching the first sunrise usually involves waiting in the cold, but at this event you will be inside and on the observation deck, where visitors have a view of Mount Fuji and excellent photo opportunities. Celebrate the new year in style at the SKY CIRCUS observation deck of Sunshine 60!

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

・Scheduled Programs During Event

January 1, 2018 (Monday / Holiday)

6:00-8:00

(Expected sunrise is 6:47)

*Depending on weather conditions, the sunrise may not be visible

Access and Address

・Location

Sunshine City, Sunshine 60, 60th Floor, SKY CIRCUS Sunshine 60 Observation Deck

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Station

3 minute walk from Higashi Ikebukuro Station on Yurakucho Subway Line

8 minute walk from Ikebukuro East Exit on JR Yamanote Line

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Hub Station

17 minutes from Tokyo Station on Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line

・Address                3-1 Higashi Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo

・Map

Admission and Reservation

2,000 yen admission

*Children younger than 3 years old enter free

*1,500 yen admission for holders of the annual SKYPASS passport

Registration is required for the event. Registration is first come first served.

*Tickets will go on sale at November 24th at 10 AM. Please check the official website for details.

Official Website

http://www.sunshinecity.co.jp/

6. Tokyo Skytree® New Year’s Sunrise Special — January 1, 2018


Source: flickr

Tokyo Skytree® will host a sunrise viewing event on New Year’s Day before normal operating hours, which commences at 8 AM. Those looking to attend the event must apply online for a lottery. Fortunately, if you can’t attend the event on the 1st, they host the same event on the 2nd and 3rd as well. In order to accommodate as many people as possible, they will operate slightly earlier than usual starting at 7 AM. After watching the sunrise, head over to Tokyo Skytree Town®, which is open from the 1st, and go shopping or fill your stomach.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

・Scheduled Programs During Event

January 1, 2018 5:30-7:30 (last entry is 6:30).

*Limited to 892 who will be selected through an online lottery system (check the official website for details).

General admission will commence at 8:00

Access and Address

・Location

Tokyo Skytree®

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Station

Immediately by Tokyo Skytree Station on Tobu Skytree Line

Immediately by Oshiage Skytree-mae Station on Tobu Skytree Line, Keisei Oshiage Line, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Toei Asakusa Line

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Hub Station

30 minutes from Tokyo Station by subway

・Address

1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

・Map

Admission and Reservation

7,000 yen (includes souvenir)

*Online lottery is open between November 1 through 26.

Official Website

http://www.tokyo-skytree.jp/

Food Events

7. Furusato Matsuri Tokyo 2018: Festivals and Regional Delicacies — January 12, 2018 through January 21, 2018


Source: flickr

The Furusato Matsuri is an annual event celebrating regional delicacies and festivals of Japan. The festival will feature all kinds of festivals and foods hailing from different regions in Japan. Starting with renowned festivals, such as the Nebuta Festival, which is famous for the enormous paper lantern floats, and lively dance performances, visitors can also sample regional delicacies and original desserts at the event. It’s a perfect opportunity to taste and see things from other regions in Japan. There are also various activities at the event, including the “Japan Local Donburi Championship”, “Ikemen Stamp Rally”, “Zeppin! Ippin! Choinose Ichiba”, and “Gotochi Marathon 2018”. Check out the various attractions from regional Japan while staying in Tokyo!

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

・Scheduled Programs During Event

January 12, 2018 through January 21, 2018

10:00-21:00 (closes at 18:00 on the 21st)

*Last entry on all days is 30 minutes before close

Access and Address

・Location

Tokyo Dome

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Station

Immediately by Suidobashi Station on JR Chuo Line, JR Sobu Line, and Toei Mita Line

Immediately by Korakuen Station on Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line and Nanboku Line

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Hub Station

15 minutes by train from Tokyo Station

・Address

1-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

・Map

Admission and Reservation

1,700 yen admission

*Up to 4 pre-school children enter for free with 1 adult

Pre-sale tickets available

Official Website

http://www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/furusato/

Sports Events

8. Shinjuku City Half Marathon: Kumin Kenko Marathon — January 28, 2018


Source: flickr

Over 10,000 runners gather for the Shinjuku City Half Marathon / Kumin Kenko Marathon, which is in its 16th year. The main venue is the Meiji Jingu baseball stadium and, as the name suggests, the course cuts through the city of Shinjuku. While the half marathon is extremely popular, participants can also run other distances, including 10 km, 3 km, and 2 km. The 2 km run is further divided into the family run and fun run groups and a “hiyoko” race is available for pre-school runners. The inclusivity of the event is another reason for its popularity. Even if you’re familiar with Shinjuku, you may discover another side of the city through the marathon. Unfortunately, registration for the marathon is now closed, but you can still cheer on runners from the sidewalk. Go out and support the runners!

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

・Scheduled Programs During Event

January 28, 2018

Starting at 8:30

Access and Address

・Location

Meiji Jingu Gaien Road (Start)

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Station

Aoyama Ichome Station / Gaien-mae Station on subway

Kokuritsu Kyogijo Station on Toei Oedo Line

Sendagaya Station / Shinanomachi Station on JR Sobu Line

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Hub Station

From Tokyo Station, take the Yamanote Line to Shinbashi Station. At Shinbashi, transfer to the Ginza Line and ride for 18 minutes

・Address

3-1 Kasumigaoka-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Watching the race is free.

Official Website

http://www.shinjukucity-halfmarathon.jp/

Modern Art Events

9. Van Gogh & Japan — October 24, 2017 through January 8, 2018


Source: salama-press-club

Van Gogh & Japan is a collaborative exhibit organized by the Van Gogh Museum in Netherlands and held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum in Ueno. In addition to famed Van Gogh pieces from around the world, the exhibit will feature rare pieces from private collections. The exhibit will spotlight and analyze the influence of Japanese art on Van Gogh, including the flat planes seen in ukiyo-e that is also apparent in “La Chambre à Arles” and Japanese motifs prevalent in “Japonaiserie: The Courtesan”. Visitors can delve into Japonsim and Van Gogh’s admiration for Japanese art. Further, the exhibit will showcase his famous self-portrait, which last came to Japan 12 years ago and will be shown for only the second time.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

・Scheduled Programs During Event

October 24, 2017 through January 8, 2018

9:30-17:30

Open until 20:00 on Fridays during the exhibition term, November 1-2, and November 4 (last entry is 30 minutes before close)

*The museum is closed Mondays, December 31, and January 1, but will be open on January 8

Access and Address

・Location

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Station

7 minute walk from JR Ueno Station Koen Exit

Ueno Station Exit 7 on Ginza and Hibiya subway lines

10 minute walk from Keisei Ueno Station on Keisei Train Line

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Hub Station

15 minutes from Tokyo Station on Utsunomiya Line

・Address

8-36 Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Adults 1,600 yen; university and trade school students 1,300 yen; high school students 800 yen; seniors older than 65 years old 1,000 yen

Official Website

http://gogh-japan.jp

Family Events

10. Tokyo Skytree Town® New Year’s Event — December 26, 2017 through January 8, 2018


Source: antenna

A special event to celebrate the new year will be held at Tokyo Skytree Town®. In addition to photo opportunities and strength competitions with sumo wrestlers on Tembo Deck 350, visitors can meet the official mascot of Tokyo Skytree, Sorakara, who will be dressed in a special outfit. The first 2,018 visitors will receive a new year’s limited edition ema or illustrated tablet strap. At Tokyo Soramachi®, a calligraphy artist from the local Sumida area will conduct a calligraphy performance and workshop (capacity of 20 people). A lion dance and various street performances are planned to celebrate the occasion. The venue will be adorned with new year’s decorations, including a kadomatsu or new year’s pine decoration and a huge kite made in Kasukabe-shi, Saitama on the Tobu Train Line.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

・Scheduled Programs During Event

December 26, 2017 through January 8, 2018

Dates and times vary based on the specific program

Access and Address

・Location

Tokyo Skytree Town®

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Station

Immediately by Tokyo Skytree Station on Tobu Skytree Line

Immediately by Oshiage Skytree-mae Station on Tobu Skytree Line, Keisei Oshiage Line, Hanzomon Line, and Toei Asakusa Line

・Directions and Travel Time From Closest Hub Station

30 minutes from Tokyo Station on Tokyo Metro

・Address

1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Free admission and reservations are not required

*A separate ticket is required for entrance to the observation deck and skywalk

Official Website

http://www.tokyo-skytreetown.jp/

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About Shoto Hachiya

Hello, my name is Shoto! I’ve lived in and traveled many countries. Through the experiences, I saw a lot of different cultures and customs, and that made me realize how unique Japanese culture is.