Happy New Year! Here is a list of events & festivals happening in & around Tokyo this month. I hope that you are able to get out and enjoy some of them!
1/5 Joma-Shinji, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Archery ritual in traditional attire. From 10:00. Access: JR Yokosuka Line to Kamakura Station. Then walk 10 minutes.
1/6 Dezome-shiki, Annual New Year’s Fire Review of the Tokyo Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Tokyo Big Sight,Koto Ward, Tokyo. A mass display of the high-tech fire-fighting equipments is held and visitors can experience fire and earthquake simulation with the latest equipments. 9:00-14:00. Access (1) The Yurikamome Line from Shimbashi Sta. to Kokusai-Tenjijo-Seimon Sta., and then walk 3 min (2) The Tokyo Rinkai Kosoku Railway Rinkai Line from Shin-Kiba Sta. to Kokusai-Tenjijo Station, and then walk 7 minutes. PHOTO ON RIGHT
1/7 Yokozuna Dezuiri, Meiji Jingu Shrine, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo. Ring-entering ceremony of Sumo by Yokozuna grand champions in front of the main hall of the shrine. Main event starts at 15:00. Access: JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Sta. (Omotesando Exit), and then walk 5 min. (2) Tokyo Metro Chiyoda or Fukutoshin Line to Meiji-Jingumae Station, and then walk 5 minutes.
1/9 Maebashi Hatsuichi Matsuri, First fair of the year, along Honmachi-dori, Hachimangu Shrine, etc., Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture. Features Otakiage (ceremony of burning old Daruma ) and a parade of Mikoshi followed by many people disguised as Shishi lions and Tengu goblins. More than 350 open-air stalls sell Daruma and various good-luck charms. 10:00-11:30 Otakiage. 10:00-21:20 Open-air stalls are set up along Honmachi-dori Street 10:30-11:30 Mikoshi parade from the shrine to Karimiya (portable shrine resting place). Access: Joetsu Shinkansen Line to Takasaki Sta. From there, take JR Ryomo Line to Maebashi Sta. (North Exit), and then walk 10 minutes.
1/10 Hatsu Konpira-sai, Kotohira-gu Shrine, Minato Ward, Tokyo. First fair of the year at the shrine. The parade of Shichifukujin (the seven Gods of Good Fortune) and Sato-Kagura performance (Shinto dance with music) are held at the shrine. Schedule & Key events: 11:00- &14:00 parade. 10:30, 13:00 & 16:00 Sato-Kagura at Kagura-den Hall. Access: 1) Tokyo Metro Ginza Line to Toranomon Station, and then walk 1 minute.
1/10-19 Furusato Matsuri (Hometown Festival), Tokyo Dome, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo. The annual event is a chance for the residents of Japan’s other prefectures to dazzle Tokyoites with their region’s unique culture and its food. After you’ve sampled enough specialities at the food stalls, sit back and watch recreations of up to 20 popular regional festivals including Aomori’s Nebuta Matsuri and the Akita Kanto Matsuri, or cheer on your favourite at the costume character dance contest. 10:00-21:00 (19th: 10:00-18:00). Access: Short walk from Kasuga, Korakuen, or Suidobashi Station. PHOTO ON LEFT https://furusatomatsuritokyo.com
1/11-3/8 Atami Baien Ume Matsuri, Atami City, Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture – Japanese Plum/Apricot Festival. There are about 470 Japanese plum/apricot trees of 60 species blooming in the garden. Various entertainment is scheduled during the festival. Access: (1) JR Ito Line to Kinomiya Sta., and then walk 10 min. (2) JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line to Atami Sta. From there, take bus (for Ainohara-Danchi or Baien) to Baien Bus Stop (15 minutes).
1/12 Kodokan Kagami-birakishiki, In the Kodokan, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo. Traditional rice cake cutting ceremony on the first Judo (Japanese martial art) training session day of the New Year. Access: 1) Toei Mita or Oedo Subway Line to Kasuga Station, and then walk 1 min. (2) Tokyo Metro Marunouchi or Namboku Line to Korakuen Station, and then walk 3 minutes.
1/12 Ome Daruma Ichi, a fair selling Dharma dolls, in Ome, on the outskirts of Tokyo, from 13:30 – 20:00. About 300 open-air stalls selling Daruma (Dharma dolls), food, potted plants and the like are set up along the Kyu-Ome-Kaido street. Access: The JR Ome Line to Ome Station.
1/12 Manaita-biraki, Hoon-ji Temple, Taito Ward, Tokyo. New Year’s ceremony to dedicate a carp as an offering to the temple. The head master of Shijo-ryu school of Japanese culinary arts, dressed in traditional attire demonstrates the art of skillfully slicing a large carp on the board, only using a knife and chopsticks, not even touching the fish with his hands. 10:00 – 12:00. Access: Tokyo Metro Ginza Line to Inaricho Station, and then walk 5 minutes.
1/12 Kanchu Suiyoku, Teppozu Inari Shrine, Chuo Ward, Tokyo. Midwinter bathing, a purification ceremony. Men wearing only loincloths are purified first by priest’s prayer and then again when they enter into the icy water in a big tank on the grounds of the shrine. From 11:00. Access: 1). Hibiya Line or JR Keiko Line to Hatchobori Station, and then walk 5 minutes. 2). Yurakucho Line to Shintomichi Station and then walk 10 minutes.
1/12-26 O-Zumo Hatsu Basho, First Grand Sumo Tournament of the year at Ryogoku Kokugikan Hall, Sumida Ward, Tokyo. Dohyo-iri (the ring-entering ceremonies) by Yokozuna (the grand champions) take place around 15:55 daily. Then the main matches by Maku- uchi (upper-rank Sumo wrestlers) start. Advance tickets are sold at Ticket Pia, convenience stores, and so on. Unreserved-seat tickets are sold on the day at the Hall from 7:45 every day during the tournament period, on a first- come, first-served basis. The number of the tickets is limited to 350 daily. Access: The JR Sobu Line or the Toei Oedo Subway Line to Ryogoku Station, and then walk 5 minutes.
1/13 Momote-shiki, Meiji Jingu Shrine, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo. Traditional Japanese archery ritual to commemorate Seijin-no-hi (Coming-of- Age Day) in the precincts of the shrine. From 13:00-15:00. Access: 1). JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station (Omotesando Exit), and then walk 5 min. 2) Tokyo Metro Chiyoda or Fukutoshin Line to Meiji- Jingumae Station, and then walk 5 minutes.
1/13 Hashigonori (traditional acrobatics performed at the top of a six meter tall ladder), Ikegami Honmonji Temple, Ota Ward, Tokyo. From 14:30 – 15:30. *Join a free guided tour (in English) led of the temple compound from 13:00 – 14:00. *Tell the guides (some are my friends!) that Sandy sent you. To participate, sign-up at the blue tent before 13:00. Access: Asakusa Line to Nishi-Magome Station, then walk 12 minutes. For more information: https://www.otacitytourguide.tokyo *PHOTO AT TOP OF PAGE
1/15-16 Setagaya Boro Ichi, Flea Market on Boro Ichi-dori Street, Setagaya-ku, features many open-air stalls selling foods, clothes, potted plants, antiques, etc. from 9:00-21:00 on both days. Access (1) Take a bus for Kamimachi or Seijo-Gakuen from Shibuya Sta. (South Exit), and then get off at Kamimachi Bus Stop (2) Tokyu Setagaya Line to Setagaya Station. or Kamimachi Station.
1/16 Kagura-hajime, at the main hall of Kanda Myojin Shrine, Chiyoda-ku. Dai-dai Kagura , Shinto dance with music of drums, flutes and other musical instruments is performed from 15:00. Access: The JR Chuo, Sobu Line or the Marunouchi Subway Line to Ochanomizu Station, and then walk 5 minutes.
1/18 Onza Hiho Daranie (Moja Okuri), Sensoji Temple, Taito Ward, Tokyo. Buddhist rite. Two devils with burning torches emerge from the darkness and run around in the compound of the temple, and then disappear into the darkness. It is believed that those who are showered by the sparks of the burning torches are assured of good health throughout the year. From 17:00. Access: Tokyo Metro Ginza Line or Toei Asakusa Subway Line to Asakusa Station, and then walk 5 minutes.
1/18-19 Daikoku Matsuri, Kanda Myojin Shrine, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. Festival featuring a purification ceremony (people coming of age pour icy water over themselves) and Hocho-shiki (rite or traditional art of skillfully slicing a large carp using a Japanese knife and chopsticks, not even touching the fish with hands). 1/18 10:00- Purification ceremony ●1/19 12:00- Hocho-shiki. Access: 5 minute walk from Ochanomizu Station or Shin-Ochanomizu Station. 7 minute walk from Akihabara Station.
1/21 Hatsu Daishi, Nishi Arai Daishi Temple, Adachi Ward, Tokyo. First fair of the year. A lot of open-air stalls sell Daruma , sweets, clothes and the like in the compound of the temple and its neighborhood. 9:00-16:00. Access: Tobu Daishi Line to Daishi- mae Sta., and then walk 5 minutes.
1/20-21 Hatsu Daishi, first fair of the year at Kawasaki Daishi Temple, Kawasaki, Kanagawa Pref. Open- air stalls selling Daruma (Dharma dolls) are set up from 9:00. Access: The Keihin Kyuko Line to Keikyu Kawasaki Sta. From there, the Keihin Kyuko Daishi Line to Kawasaki Daishi Station.
1/24-25 Usokae-Shinji, Bullfinch exchange ritual. Bullfinches, which are called “Uso” in Japanese, are regarded as symbols of good luck. People exchange old carved wooden bullfinches for new ones. Hatsu Tenjin-sai, New Year’s festival to celebrate Tenjin (the diety of the shrine), is also held on 1/25. Kasai-Bayashi (Japanese festival music) and Sato-Kagura (Shinto dance with music) will be performed several times a day between 8:30 and 16:00 at Kagura-den Hall. 1/25 Kasai-Bayashi & Sato-Kagura. Access: JR Sobu Line to Kameido Sta., then walk 15 minutes.
1/23-29 Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2020, Tokyo Dome, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo. Even those not interested in quilting will be impressed with these fantastic works of art. 9:30-18:00 (last entry 30 minutes prior to closing). The festival opens at 11:00 on the first day, and closes at 17:00 on the final day. 2200 yen (2000 in advance). Access: A short walk from Suidobashi, Korakuen, and Kasuga Stations. https://www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/e/quilt/
1/25-2/8 2020 Shunsetsu, Yokohama Chinatown, Kanagawa Prefecture. Chinese New Year’s Day, 1/25, according to the lunar calendar. Various events are scheduled during the festival period. 1/24 24:00- Countdown in Yamashitacho Park. 1/25 15:00- 20:00 Shishimai (lion dance) in the town. 1/26 16:00- Parade of people in Chinese traditional attire. 2/1 & 2/2 13:00- 17:00 Many Chinese performing arts demonstration in Yamashitacho Park. 2/8 13:00-19:00 Lantern festival in Yamashitacho Park. Access: 1) Tokyu Toyoko Line or Yokohama Minatomirai Line to Motomachi-Chukagai Sta., and then walk 1 min. 2) JR Keihin Tohoku or Negishi Line to Ishikawacho Sta.(North Exit), and then walk 5 minutes.
1/26-3/22 Tsubaki Matsuri, Oshima Island, Tokyo. Camellia Festival. Various species of camellia are usually in bloom during the festival period on Oshima Island. The festival features Oshima local performing arts such as Anko-no-Teodori (dance performed by Oshima local girls in traditional costume) and Oshima Minyo (traditional folk songs) and Yomatsuri (night festival). daily 9:00-15:30 Oshima local performing arts at Tsubaki Plaza. 1/26 morning – Parade of Edo Mikoshi & Anko girls. Access: 1) Yurikamome Monorail Line to Takeshiba Station, then walk to Takeshiba Pier. From there, take Tokai Kisen ferry boat (8 hours) or hydrofoil (1hr. 45min) to Oshima Island. 2) From Haneda Airport, take airplane (30 minutes).
1/28 Daruma Ichi, fair for Dharma at Takahata Fudoson Temple, Hino City, on the outskirts of Tokyo. Many stalls are set up from sunrise to sunset, selling Daruma dolls which attract many people seeking good luck in the year ahead. Chigo-Gyoretsu , a parade of children in fancy attire is scheduled in the precincts from 14:00. Access: Keio Line to Takahata Fudo Sta., and then walk 5 minutes.