New Year Countdown in Tokyo – 2019

Last year, we were at Harajuku and Meiji Shrine for the New Year’s countdown to 2018, check the link here. This year, we will be spending our third consecutive New Year’s Eve in Tokyo again and we plan to spend the night at Zozoji.

Hoping to catch the famous Japanese tradition of Joya no Kane (除夜の鐘) – the ringing of bells 108 times in all Buddhist temples from late night of 31 December to 01 January. The last 108th bell will strike at 0000 hours on 01 January. This tradition signifies the removal of 108 human sins, particularly the sins during the previous year. If you would like to witness this ceremony, do join in the queue with the locals at temples from as early as 10pm onwards to strike the bells. Some temples in Tokyo, which allow visitors to participate in the ringing of the bell (either complimentary or with a fee) are listed below. Do check their website for further updates. Check this post for more info.

Besides visiting temples and shrines, other more popular NYE activities are visiting the Tokyo Skytree where fireworks can be seen in the distant. Shibuya and Shinjuku will be extremely crowded and the crowd can be quite rowdy, a significant presence of police will be present for order control.

We missed eating the Toshikoshi Soba (New Year’s Eve Noodles) 年越し蕎麦 for the past 2 years. This dish is especially significant as soba symbolizes good fortune and longevity. There is also a traditional belief that the easy chewing of soba helps one to forget hardship and overcome disaster. Hopefully we can have the chance to try this out.

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