Winter

Most Popular Tokyo Winter Events and Festivals 2018/2019

Hikkey

Writer

Visiting Tokyo during winter could be a bit chilly. However, winter is actually the best season to visit this world-famous city. In fact, winter is the time when many festivals and events take place. Especially, you can take a look and enjoy Japanese traditional end and beginning of the New Year in January.

As you know, Tokyo is one of the most populated cities in Japan. And it is the place where things are going on throughout the year in Japan. Many events and festivals are going on even in the coldest time. What people coming from abroad appreciate about Tokyo, is its modern atmosphere. People in Tokyo are somewhat shy and seem a bit cold on the first place. But once they get to know you, they are not hesitating to open up. Here are the most popular and exciting events for you to join in each month of this winter from December to February in Tokyo.


Contents

 

December Tokyo Winter Events and Festivals
January Tokyo Winter Events and Festivals
February Tokyo Winter Events and Festivals

December Tokyo Winter Events and Festivals

The thing about Japanese winter is the humidity. Although the temperature in December in Tokyo rises up to 12 degrees, you feel cold to your bones. This is what humidity does. On top of it, there is no central heating system in Tokyo. If you plan to stroll around the city during the winter in Tokyo, I highly recommend you put a warm inner shirt beneath your sweater. This way, you won’t be shivering while you are outside. Anyway, let’s take a look at some events and festivals that will satisfy your curiosity and stomach in December in Tokyo.

Tokyo Comic Con (Nov 30th –Dec 2nd, 2018) in Makuhari Messe

Image courtesy of 132364

This event actually starts from the end of November. If you like technology and pop culture, this event is definitely the one for you to go. Tokyo Comic-Con started in 2016. The idea of this event originally comes from the United States. The Golden State Comic Book Convention which was held in 1970 in San Diego is the origin of Tokyo Comic-Con. What differs this event from the original one is the taste of Japan. It unites American and Japanese pop culture. Every year about 50,000 people visits this event within three days. Why don’t you come and join this event with your friends or family? You can either get a ticket in advance or at the door. Here is the official page of this exciting event: http://tokyocomiccon.jp/english/whatscc.html

The 47 Ronin Winter Festival (Dec 14th) in Senkaku Temple in Takanawa Minato Ward.

Image courtesy of Corpse Reviver

The official name of this festival is Akogishi Festival. The origin of the festival is in the story of Ako Samurai who sacrificed their lives for the master. They were called ”Akoroshi.” You can find the book titled as 47 Ronin in English if you are interested in the story of Akoroshi. This festival takes place on December 14th every year at Senkaku Temple where those 47 samurais graves are.

There will be Japanese guys dressed as Akoroshi to commemorate their loss. Also, several food booths will be waiting for you with Japanese traditional festival food. Warm your body up with delicious Japanese festival food while you learn the history of Japanese samurai at the festival. You can check more about this festival at the temple’s official website: http://www.sengakuji.or.jp/about_sengakuji_en/

Boroichi Flea Market (Dec 15th -Dec 16th, 2018) in Setagaya

Image courtesy of 江戸村のとくぞう

Shibuya Boroichi Flea Market is the biggest flea market in Japan. The history went back 435 years ago. There will be over 700 shops gathered at the site and selling secondhand goods, antiques, unique handcrafts, and food there. Every year approximately 200,000 people visit this gigantic flea market every year. This market opens from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

You can drop by the market while you wander around the Setagaya ward. You may find something really Japanese and unique that you cannot see elsewhere! What I recommend you check is secondhand Kimono. You can find old but beautiful patterns on them at the market. For more information on this famous flea market, please click on the following link: http://www.city.setagaya.lg.jp/setagaya/11000/11004/d00125000.html (Japanese only)
And if you are interested in Tokyo flea markets, here is an article on this topic, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/ton-20-tokyo-flea-markets-2018-enjoy-cozy-atmosphere-popup-markets

Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks (Every Saturday of December 2018) in Odaiba

Summer is the best season to see fireworks. But wait a minute, is that so? Watching fireworks in the winter may not be a bad idea. The air gets fresh, and it makes the color of fireworks even more vivid. These Odaiba Rainbow fireworks will warm your heart up with their beautiful glowing in the night sky. It takes place every Saturday in December. There are some interesting facilities in Odaiba. You will never get bored spending time in Odaiba till the fireworks. It starts at 7:00 p.m. and lasts for about 10 minutes. Enjoy Odaiba and its fantastic view between the artificial island and Rainbow Bridge. Here is the official website for the event: https://www.tokyo-odaiba.net/rainbow/hanabi2018.html (Japanese only)

Hagoita Market (Dec 17th to Dec 19th, 2018) in Senso-ji Temple in Taito Ward

Image courtesy of Masayal

Senso-ji (Temple) is a famous Tokyo tourist spot. There are many people from abroad visiting the oldest temple in Tokyo every year. You might have seen the picture of this temple with a big red gate and a hanging float on the center. From December 17th to 19th, this temple gets ready for the coming of the New Year. There will be a bunch of Hagoita being sold at the temple around this time.

Haogita is originally a racket but those ones at Senso-ji are a bit different. They are decorated with full of colorful pictures and used as good luck charms. You will be excited to see all those interesting looking Hagoita at the site. It will be a good idea to bring one of them as a souvenir to your family or friends as those Hagoita are truly Japanese things. For more information about this event, please click the link here: http://www.senso-ji.jp/annual_event/21.html (Japanese only)

Comic Market Vol. 98 – Comiket (Dec 29th to 31st, 2018) in Tokyo Big Site in Koto Ward

Japan has the largest Manga market in the world. Even the government is appealing Manga as something that represents Japan to the other countries. This Comic Market is the biggest Comic Festival and cosplay event in Japan. The event takes place twice a year in the summer and winter. There will be over 32000 groups selling original comics and 160 comic related companies presenting their products. Last year, there were about 25000 cosplayer s and 550000 people visited this event.

Even if you are not too much into Japanese comic culture, this event is worth visiting for getting to know more about Japan in a deeper way. I am pretty sure, joining this event will blow your mind. Please check more information about this event at the official website: https://www.comiket.co.jp/index_e.html
Here is an article about Comiket on FestivalGo, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/comiket-best-comic-market-festival-tokyo

January Tokyo Winter Events and Festivals

Visiting Tokyo in January will give you many chances to encounter Japanese traditional events. Although we, Japanese, are open to any kind of religions, considering that we celebrate Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day, what matters to us the most is the New Year. New Year is the most important season in Japan. During this season, most of the businessmen take days off and spend it with their families. This is the time when Tokyo, the busiest city in Japan, gets warm and friendly. Let’s check some events and festivals that take place in January.

Fox Parade (Dec 31st to Jan 1st, 2019) in Oji Inari Shrine in Kita Ward

Image courtesy of Abassa 

It was said from the ancient times that foxes from all over Kanto area gather at Oji Inari Shrine from the end of the year to the first day of the New Year. This event originates from this Japanese old fairy tale. Every year around the same time Oji Inari Shrine celebrates the first shrine visit of the New Year’s Day (Hatsumoude in Japanese). At this parade, you will see people in the costumes of foxes walking through the street in the neighborhood. This is pretty solemn and fantastic. It makes you feel like you are back in ancient times. Here is the official webpage of the festival: http://kitsune.tokyo-oji.jp/ (Japanese only)

New Year Big Homa (Goma Fire) (Jan 1st, 2019) at Takao Mt. in Hachioji City

Image courtesy of

Some people who visit Takao area one hour away from the center of Tokyo climb up the mountain from the end of the year on Dec.31st and see the sunrise of the New Year from the top of the mountain. If you happen to stay in Tokyo, going Takao Mountain gives you a chance to experience this Japanese Traditional ritual.

Every New Year on January 1st from the early morning, you can see the beautiful sunrise at the top of the mountain and join Homa (Big fire offering to get rid of evil spirits in the upcoming year). The scenery you will come across there is holy and traditional. This experience will give you a good memory of your trip for the rest of your life. Here is the official page of the event: http://www.takaosan.or.jp/english/events.html

Hatsumode at Meiji Jingu Shrine (Jan 1st to 3rd, 2019) in Shibuya Ward

Hatsumode is a Japanese tradition when people visit a shrine or a temple for the first time in the year. People usually do Hatumode from the 1st of January to 3rd. You can go to any shrine or temple during this period. But the one I would like to introduce in this article is Meiji Jingu Shrine. Meiji Jingu Shrine is one of the hottest touristic spots throughout the year for people from Japan and from abroad. But during the New Year, it gets even more insane.

All you see is people, and people, and people! It gets warmer thanks to people coming to do Hatsumode and you almost forget that you are actually outside. I would say that joining Hatsumode event is something you cannot experience in other countries. There will be tons of food booths celebrating a new year with people as well at the shrine. Enjoy this Japanese tradition and festival food there! Here is the official website of Meiji Shrine: http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/newyear/ (Japanese only)

Osechi Buffet (Jan 1st -3rd, 2019)

Have you heard of Osechi Cuisine? This is Japanese traditional Cuisine which you can only eat during the New Year period. You cannot taste it at the restaurants at a regular time. Osechi is an assortment of small dishes and each dish means something.

It is like a traditional Catholic Christmas dish but in the Japanese version. The way Osechi looks like is pretty colorful and delicious. You are lucky to be planning to come to Japan during the New Year. So, why don’t you try this special New Year dish at Hanagoyomi, Japanese traditional restaurant? There will be 31 kinds of Osechi dishes, and you can eat as much as you want. It is good to enjoy the taste, take pictures and brag to your friends. Don’t miss this special opportunity! Please find more information on this event by clicking on the following link: http://hanagoyomi-ryu.jp/tokyo/osechi2019.html (Japanese only)

Earth Garden Winter Festival (Jan 20th – 21st, 2019) in Yoyogi Park in Shibuya Ward

If you are an “environment first” person, this Earth Garden Festival is the one for you to go. Yoyogi Park is a famous park in Tokyo where people spend time with their partners, families, and friends. There are numerous events going on throughout the year at this park. This Earth Garden Winter Festival is for promoting an ecological lifestyle. There will be eco-friendly stalls with environmentally friendly goods, music events, and workshops.

It is a good opportunity for you to learn how Japanese eco-friendly people think about nature and the environment. You may get to know someone who thinks as you do about the environment at this festival. Here is the official website: http://www.earth-garden.jp/event/eg-2018-winter/english/

Japan Brewers Cup 2019 (Jan 25th to 27th, 2019) in Osanbashi Hall, Yokohama

Image courtesy of kontenten

Yes, here comes the New Year! New Year is a good chance to get drunk and hammered. We can make excuses for our misbehaving during this season. And that is what the Japanese people do. This event is not actually held in Tokyo, but Kanagawa. I could not help letting you know about this festival. You can access the site within about 30 minutes from Tokyo station. At this festival, you can try about 190 kinds of beers from Japan and abroad. This is the must to go type of event for beer lovers. Let’s celebrate the New Year with this gorgeous beer event! For more information, please visit the official website: https://japanbrewerscup.jp/english.html

February Tokyo Winter Events and Festivals

February is the coldest month in Japan and in Tokyo particularly. It gets only 10 degrees maximum and still feels colder because of humidity. If you plan to be in Tokyo during this season, please bring a thick jacket and a knit cap. Although the weather will not be as pretty as in spring, you can still enjoy winter festivals or events such as Setsubun festival for banishing evil spirits, or St. Valentine’s Day! In this section, I picked up some festivals and events you can enjoy both inside and outside in February in Tokyo.

Setsubun Festival (Feb 3rd, 2019) in Zojoji Temple in Minato Ward

Setsubun is the ceremony which celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of the spring. In early February there are many festivals related to this event. This Setsubun festival takes place at Zojoji Temple on February 3rd every year. During this festival, the temple invites Japanese celebrities and asks them to throw beans to visitors over screaming “Oni ha Soto! Fuku ha Uchi!” (Get goblins out! And let happiness come to you!). The venue gets packed every year. You can also enjoy trying Mochi (rice cakes) and little performances with children during the festival. For more information, please check the following link: http://www.zojoji.or.jp/event/ev_setsubun.html (Event information is only in Japanese)

Tokyo Tako (Kite) Market (Feb 7th, 2019) in Kita Ward

Have you seen Japanese traditional kites? Some of them are really arty and beautiful. It is no longer common in Japan for kids to play with kites these days, unfortunately. But if you want to bring back a Japanese art craft, you may consider checking out this fair. This festival started in the Edo period. Since then, people love and enjoy this event every year. Actually, there are over 50,000 people visiting this festival to see and enjoy those beautiful kites. You can buy a kite from 800 Yen which I think is pretty reasonable. Here is the website about the festival: http://www.nihon-kankou.or.jp/tokyo/detail/13117ba2210027080 (Only in Japanese and the date is not fixed for 2019 yet)

Tableware Festival (Feb 3rd to 11th, 2019) in Tokyo Dome in Bunkyo Ward

This Tableware Festival will drive you crazy if you are into the diet and culture of tableware. There will be many gorgeous looking plates, bowls and tableware to decorate your dining room. Those products are not only from Japan but also from abroad. You can check the unique Japanese style of tableware or traditional European ones at this festival. Even if you are not into tableware, wandering around the venue is pretty exciting as well. Stay warm and enjoy the beauty of the tableware at the site! Here is the official website of Tokyo Dome where you can purchase the tickets for this festival: https://www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/en/tourists/dome/events.html

The Yebisu International Festival for Art and Alternative Visions (Feb 8th to Feb 24th, 2019) in Ebisu

Image courtesy of Tatsuno Yamashita

If you want to experience something really arty and stimulate your creativity, this Yebisu International Festival for Art and Alternative Visions is the proper event for you to go. This festival presents films and videos together with music, dance and talk sessions. These arty experiences you will have at this festival surely will satisfy your hunger for the art. It would be a good idea to visit this festival on one of the coldest days during your stay in Tokyo. Their official website will provide you with more detailed information: https://www.artscouncil-tokyo.jp/en/what-we-do/creation/festivals/yebizo/26668/

Wonder Festival (Feb 10th, 2019) in Makuhari Messe

Image courtesy of 玄史生

For some people, a small-scale production model kit is the most important thing in their life. This Tokyo Wonder Festival is the event for those people who are crazy about the small-scale model kits. What amazes me, is the delicacy and details of those figures. By the way, those small figures are called “Garage kits” in Japanese. If you are interested in Garage kits and animation, it is worth visiting this event! There will be several garage kits created by professional and armatures presented and sold at the venue. I would say it is a kind of Japanese culture experience (even for Japanese people). Here is the official website of this event: http://wf.kaiyodo.net/ (Only in Japanese)

Art Exhibition at Yayoi Kusama Museum (Feb 1st to Feb 28th, 2019)

Polka, Dot, Yayoi Kusama, Art Gallery

Yayoi Kusama is a world-famous Japanese artist. If you are interested in art, it is an excellent opportunity for you to check out her art pieces while you are in Japan. This museum is fairly new. It was opened in 2017. Her message through art is world peace and love. You will be amazed at how unique and powerful her art pieces are. You can learn about her and some of her works from this website: http://yayoi-kusama.jp/e/information/index.html and as for the museum, please visit its official website: https://yayoikusamamuseum.jp/en/about/yayoikusama/

Closing Remarks

There are more events and festivals you can experience in Tokyo this winter. Those ones I listed in this article are only a few. If you cannot find the events and festivals you want to go, you may search for other events in Tokyo on FestivalGo. Tokyo has gained popularity as a tourist city and more people from abroad visit Tokyo every year. You can always find something new and exciting in this world-famous city. Visiting Tokyo will never make you regret. You will have great memories there.

If you would like a local guide to spend a day with you or take you to a festival and tell you even more information about the neighborhood and local customs, please check the banner below!

An Ultimate Idea Source for Your Tokyo Stay!

Most of the travelers who come to Japan enter the country through Tokyo. Even if it is not the main place of your destination, it would be a great idea to stay in the capital city for a few days. The biggest conglomerate in the world has much to offer to any kind of traveler. Whether you want to go sightseeing, shopping, eating out, or trying something special that you can experience only in Japan, Tokyo has it all. In the following article, you will find 100 things and many ideas on how to spend your time in Tokyo! Please, have a look, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/7726/ 

Discover Tokyo’s Festivals Every Month

If you look at Tokyo from another angle, you will figure out that this is a city of festivals. Each part of the town has a local community with its traditions. And for Japanese people, it is essential to keep a sense of their community. Thus, you can see plenty of festivals almost every week in different parts of Tokyo. The following article will provide you with the best Tokyo festivals each month of the year!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5852/

Don’t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of Tomomarusan

The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5504/

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5363/

Hikkey

Yogi and Snowboarder. Love to explore nature and to meet new people. Currently, residing in the Kansai area in Japan.

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