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Who will you spend it with? 4 Recommended New Year’s Eve Events in Japan

If you happen to be in Japan at the end of 2016, then how would you feel about joining one of the New Year’s Eve events that happen all over the country? Here are four of the most famous New Year’s Eve events in Japan.

1. Chion-in Temple

If you go to the famous Chion-in Temple in Higashiyama, Kyoto, you can experience a traditional New Year’s Eve event. Here, the temple bell called Daibonsho begins to ring at the time the clock strikes 12:00 midnight on December 31st, treating guests to the traditional Buddhist ceremony called “Joya no Kane" ("bells ringing out the old year"). The temple bell of Chion-in has been widely known as the largest in Japan since time immemorial. The bell tolls 108 times, which is equivalent to the Buddhist number of man's worldly afflictions, and with its every sound, it sends out a prayer to banish all the afflictions of the previous year so that people can ring in the New Year with pure hearts. The sight of 17 priests ringing the bell with all their might, one blow after another, while people yell at the top of their lungs is truly dynamic! This event is recommended to those who want to greet the New Year in a solemn way.

Date of event: December 31, 2016 (Sat.)

1. Chion-in Temple

400 Rinka-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

2. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

The Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, which will mark the 106th year of its foundation in 2017, holds a New Year’s Eve countdown event every December 31st. While the warehouse streets look romantic when the lights are turned on, the main attraction of this event is the small- to large-scale fireworks display that light up the sky to background music for 10 minutes from 11:57 pm until 12:07 am. When the New Year starts, a huge fireworks display resembling Niagara Falls and a tape with the date printed on it will be launched to the night sky, ushering in the New Year with a bang. At the same time, ships moored in Yokohama Port will blow their whistles simultaneously to fill the area with a celebratory mood!

Date of event: December 31, 2016 (Sat.)

2. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

1-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa

3. Asakusa Hanayashiki

Next on this list is a popular event held at the oldest amusement park in Japan. At Hanayashiki in Asakusa, the park is open from midnight of December 31st until the New Year and guests are treated to unlimited rides on nine of its famous attractions, including the merry-go-round. Admission fee is 1,000 JPY (incl. tax) for adults and children.

Date of event: December 31, 2016 (Sat.)
Opening hours: 10:00 am~6:00pm, 9:00 pm~2:00 am

3. Asakusa Hanayashiki

2-28-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo

4. Space World

Last on the list is the famous event that is held at Space World, a popular theme park in Fukuoka. Unlike regular days, on New Year's Eve the park is open until 2:00, so you can enjoy fresh new experiences with attractions that are open until late at night. Further, a special show and a grand raffle event with luxurious prizes at stake are held, while a magical display of fireworks that combine music, lights and laser will light up the sky at midnight to usher in a happy New Year.

Date of event: December 31, 2016 (Sat.)
Opening hours: 10:00 am~2:00 am

4. Space World

4-1-1 Higashida, Yahatahigashi-ku, Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka

The different regions in Japan are packed with fun events for the New Year. But if you decide to join the events outdoors, make sure to protect yourself against the cold weather! This article is written based on information from 2015, so some of the details may have slightly changed in 2016. With this in mind, make sure to check the official homepages for the latest information on these events.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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