Tokyo in January: Best Things to Do

What to Do in Tokyo in January

Travelling to Tokyo in January?? Don’t miss the seasonal events and attractions available only this month! Here are the most popular spots and the hottest things to do in Tokyo in January!

Tokyo in January

In January, the middle of winter, Tokyo offers a wide range of things to do and places to visit from traditional Japanese culture and winter sports to seasonal dishes. After exciting countdown parties at the close of a year, people enjoy staying home and relaxing with their family, visiting shrines and temples and shopping special Fukubukuro products on New Year’s holidays. With colorful illuminations lighting up towns, you may see snow in the capital city in January. The average temperature in January in Tokyo is 4-7°C (39.2-44.6°F).

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1. Hatsumode

If you are here in Japan during New Year, take a chance to make a first temple or shrine visit within the first few days of the year, which is called Hatsumode (初詣).

It’s one of the most traditional Japanese customs, and shrines and temples get extremely crowded by people come to pray for their health, peace and happiness from the midnight of 1 January after New Year Eve. You can feel the traditional and festive atmosphere, and also enjoy street food and drinks sold at stalls.

Some of popular shrines and temples such as Sensoji Temple and Meiji Shrine welcome over a million visitors during the New Year period. You can check the list below for the recommended temples and shrines in Tokyo for Hatsumode.

2. Sumo Grand Tournament

Sumo match

Watching Sumo matches could be the most traditional, exciting and extraordinary experience to have in Japan. The national Sumo tournament is held 6 times a year in Japan, and three are held in Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Stadium in January, May and September. The first Sumo Grand Tournament will kick off in Tokyo in early January.

It can be quite a hassle to get tickets on your own, so if you’re going to enjoy sumo in Japan, it might be a good idea to join a sumo watching tour that includes tickets.

▶︎A sumo viewing tour with tickets included can be reserved through this link!

3. Winter Illuminations

Winter illuminations are Japan’s top attraction during winter, and numbers of spectacular light-up events are held across the country. Some illumination events end by Christmas Day, yet many of them still run after New Year. Check out the list of top winter illuminations in Tokyo from the link below!

Several large-scale winter illuminations are held outside of Tokyo, too, and they are perfect winter destinations for a day trip from the city! Here is the list of the best illumination events near Tokyo this year.

4. Ice Skating

Ice skating is one of the best winter sports/attractions, and Tokyo has several ice skating rinks which open for winter. You can enjoy skating on open-air rinks in a heart of the concrete jungle with the view of skyscrapers! You can check the link below for the info about ice skating rinks in Tokyo.

5. Strawberry Buffets

Strawberry Dessert Buffet

The season for strawberries starts in January in Japan, and strawberry dessert buffets are available at numbers of hotels in Tokyo including Hilton Tokyo, ANA Intercontinental and Grand Hyatt Tokyo. Each hotel offers delicious strawberry desserts with unique and original themes. Check out the best strawberry buffets in Tokyo!

6. Strawberry Picking

Another amazing way to enjoy delicious strawberries in season is strawberry picking. It’s a perfect fun activity for family with small kids, couples and groups! There are several strawberry farms (greenhouses) in Kanto area which you can easily access from Tokyo for a day-trip.

Many of them are open around December-January till spring. Enjoy hunting for delicious locally farmed strawberries!

More info:

7. Winter Getaway to Ski Resorts

Japan is a top destination among winter sports fans across the world and If you wish to enjoy ski or snowboard in Japan, January is an ideal month. While most of ski resorts are situated in northern Japan and mountain areas such as Niseko and Hakuba, there are also some ski resorts that can be easily accessed from Tokyo including GALA and Yeti. Rental gears are usually available at most of ski resorts in Japan so you can enjoy skiing without preparing your own ski gear and wear. Check the link below to find out recommended skin resorts around Tokyo!

8. Seijin no Hi

Seijin no Hi (Coming of Age Day) is a national holiday in Japan, celebrated annually on the second Monday of January. The day celebrates the coming of age and congratulates all those who have reached (or will reach) the year of maturity (20 year-old) between 2nd April of the previous year and 1st April of the year. The ceremonies of the coming of age are held in cities and towns across Japan. On that day, you will see many young adults on the streets, dressing up in colourful kimono dresses for this special celebration.

More info:

9. Winter Sale and Lucky Bags

The biggest sale season in Japan is around New Year and many shops offer big discount on many items including clothes and electronics products. Especially on the first week of the month, special New Year promotions called Hatsu-uri (first sale) are offered at many shops and department including Shibuya 109, PARCO, Mitsukoshi, Isetan, Yodobashi Camera, etc. Another tradition of new year shopping in Japan is Fukubukuro, lucky bags that consist of numbers of items that are usually worth much more than the price of the bag.

10. Furusato Matsuri Tokyo

Copyright © Furusato Matsuri Tokyo 

Furusato Matsuri Tokyo (ふるさと祭り東京) is a large event that features famous traditional festivals and regional dishes across Japan. The event usually takes place at Tokyo Dome in mid January. Around 400 attendance from Hokkaido to Okinawa present their regional specialties at the site. It’s a great chance to get to know the unique culture and traditions, and try delicious local dishes all in one place without travelling miles away!

Official website:

11. Day Trip to Icicles of Misotsuchi

The icicles of Misotsuchi is a spectacular winter phenomena which can be seen at Chichibu area in Saitama Prefecture. It’s one of the most popular day-trip destinations from Tokyo during winter which takes around 2–3 hours to reach from central Tokyo. The gigantic icicles are lighten up at night and turns into a great piece of art by mother nature!

More info:

▽ Travelling to Tokyo in February?? ▽

Winter in Japan might be very cold but there are plenty of exciting things to see and events to attend!

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For more information about travelling in Japan in winter, please check out listed articles, too!

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Written by

"The world is my oyster" A globetrotter 🌎 and hammock lover 🌞 who loves taking adventures to fuel wanderlust. Born and raised in Japan, I have lived and explored countries around the world. As a resident of Japan and based on my travel experience, I'd love to share my knowledge and tips for travelling Japan with my readers. I hope my story will help you plan your trip and have a great time in Japan 🌈