If you are staying in Tokyo this holiday season, we hope you will enjoy our recommendations for Tokyo New Year Fun Dec 30, 2018 – Jan 1, 2019. Although being away from your home country for the end of year holidays can be hard on the heart, there are great activities that make it quite fun to stick around and enjoy the fairly empty and relaxing city. Many stores and restaurants are closed from midday on December 31st through January 2nd or 3rd. If you would like to celebrate the New Year Japanese style you can study about the necessary preparations at this post.
Tokyo New Year Fun Dec 30, 2018 – Jan 1, 2019
Five of our favorite activities end of year holiday activities are the following. If you have favorites to share place comment below. Hope to see you out and about! Best Living Japan Moms
1. Minato Seven Gods Walk – If you are looking for a great Tokyo activity for the family on January 1-3, 2019 try the Minato Seven Gods Walk by visiting six Shinto shrines and two Buddhist temples in Minato-ku. There are eight stops representing the seven gods and the treasure ship they ride. Our family completed our first walk last New Year’s and can’t wait to do it again in 2019! A fun and active way to visit temples over the New Year’s break. It took us about three hours on bike that included waiting time at each temple to pray and get our lucky stamp. Walking takes about 4-5 hours depending on the number of rest stops. It is fun to buy the commemorative paper and collect stamps along the way. Here are the details.
2. Illumination Bike Ride – Japanese love their illuminations – cherry trees in the spring, foliage in the fall and holiday lights for Christmas. Tokyo is already aglow with so much light, so get out and enjoy over the next few weeks. A great 2-3 hour family bike ride is from Omotesando to Roppongi Hills to Marunouchi. Illuminations in Marunouchi runs until early February. Start at 5:00 p.m. and enjoy dinner along the way. Remember to wear your helmets and reflective clothing for protection. Check out our illumination guide here.
3. Ice skating – I have wonderful childhood memories of skating in flooded yards and the annual skating trip to The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Share your childhood memories with your kids by skating at the Akasaka Circus Rink (赤坂サカス) until January 14th, or the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse (アートリンク in 横浜赤レンガ倉庫) from early December until late February. Here are a list of all the ice skating rinks open for the season in Tokyo and Kanagawa.
4. Day Ski or Snow Trip – Enjoy the season frolicking in powder with our top recommended ski / snowboard day trips from Tokyo. Great for families, offers lessons for kids, ski gear rentals (gloves, boots & skies) and easily accessible. Pack a change of clothes and warm socks and head out. Even if you or your child does not ski, it is still great fun to just play in the snow.
5. Watch the First Sunrise of the Year – A Japanese tradition is to watch the first sunrise (hatsu-hinode) on January 1st. The best spots to view in Tokyo that open between early on January 1st are the Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Sky Tree, Haneda Airport and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. You will need to get tickets to be in the early viewing so review the links above on directions to get tickets.
6. Visit a Temple on New Years Day – Enjoy your New Year Eve by visiting your local temple or a major one such as Meiji Jingu or Sensoji from mid-night or January 1st day. It is a great people watching experience as everyone comes out to pray and pay respects. Return your old amulets and charms from last year and buy new ones or safety, health, education and love for 2019.
7. Fly a Kite – A number of parks open their baseball fields to the public for kite flying. Here are a few: Setagaya Park Baseball Field: December 26, 2018 – January 7, 2019 (9am – 4pm); Hanegi Park (9am – 5pm) and Tamagawa Noge-cho Park (9am – 5pm).
8. Warm-up at the Oedo Onsen Monogatari (Odaiba, Koto-ku) – Explore Odaiba with our Tokyo One Day Itinerary in Odaba with Kids then end your day warming up with a trip the Oedo Onsen in Odaiba. The entire family can enjoy bathing in the multiple onsens, taking a break to play games, eat Japanese food, and then bathe again. A great 3-4 hour activity that all will enjoy! To read about our experience and find more details click here. Note Oedo Onsen will have a count down on December 31st from 23:50~. Regular business hours from January 1. Happy New Year!!
9. Play at Niko Niko Park (にこにこパーク) a kids jungle gym paradise. It has a variety of equipment for your little one to play on and plenty of seating for parents to sit back. They`re open over the New Year`s Holiday but will close if rain.
10 Spend your day in Odaiba – Start your morning off at Bills Odaiba in the Decks Shopping Mall. Bills is open on January 1, 2018 from 9:00-23:00 and on January 2, 2018 from 8:00 – 23:00. Decks Shopping Mall opens on January 1, 2019 from 9:00 – 23:00 and on January 2, 2019 from 8:00 – 23:00. Bills is an Australian eatery that serves international cuisine and is family-friendly. Enjoy a delicious and filling breakfast with views of the Rainbow Bridge then either take a stroll out on the large promenade or on the man-made beach, or shop inside the mall. A great spot for good food and to pick up New Year`s Fukubukuro Bags.
If with young kids Legoland Discovery Center is a great option. Legoland Discovery Center is open on January 1 & 2, 2019 from 10:00 – 20:00 (last admission 18:00). Located a minute walk from Bills Odaiba it`s one of our favorite indoor theme park on our list of TOP Theme Parks in Japan. They have a miniature model of the Tokyo’s cityscape made from nearly 1.5 million bricks, a Lego-themed laser shooting ride, Fire Academy & Construction Site with crawl spaces, 4D cinema, and more.
If with teens we recommend popping in next door to Aqua City`s Tokyo Joypolis, an indoor theme park with rides and attractions. Tokyo Joypolis will have a count down party on December 31 from 23:15~ and will close at 29:00. They will open from January 1~ from 11:00-21:00 (last entry 20:15).
We also recommend taking the escalator upstairs to the 4th floor to visit the Daiba 1-Chome Shotengai, a retro 1950s shopping street with food, games and souvenirs. Located at the end of the Daiba 1-Chome Shotengai is the Takoyaki Museum – more a food court than a museum, with adorable Takoyaki goods and food. Great spot for a Takoyaki snack. Aqua City is open on January 1-3 from 10:00-21:00. Individual store opening times may vary.
Located on the 4th floor of Aqua City sits Leisureland, a game center for all ages! Leisureland has games, Purikura photo booths, dart corner, kids corner and more. Happy New Year!
11. Epson Aqua Park Shinagawa – The aquarium is quite high-tech with touch panel exhibits, fluorescent-lighted jellyfish and choreographed performances. Depending on how many performances you would like to see, plan to spend about 2-3 hours at the aquarium. If you have a baby to Jr HS student and think you may attend 3 or more times in one year as a rainy day back-up I would recommend buying the annual pass.
Tokyo New Year Fun Dec 30, 2018 – Jan 1, 2019