Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year Eve Celebrations in Tokyo

Purely in the interest of journalism, we thought it might be a good exercise to travel around the different areas of Tokyo to experience the build up to the countdown to New Years. We're not particularly ones for standing around waiting for an event, so this sorted us fine ... and it certainly was an eye opener.

Our first port of call was to the world famous Roppongi crossroads at around 22:15hrs. At this time the crossroads looked quieter than it had been at 15:00 earlier that day. Everyone is tucked away in their restaurants, karaoke bars and clubs etc. Our informants report that the streets start to fill up at around 23:30. as the young and trendy pour out of the bars to welcome in the New Year. It should be noted (IMHO) that this area is good for young locals and tourists (there are lots of tourists in clicky groups)  who are in groups of more than 4. I'm assuming that for the more mature couples it will be a little bit under-whelming and they might like to try our next option.

Earlier in the day we visited Asakusa area of Tokyo and their was already a sense of excitement in the air. Because New Year is a religious celebration in Japan it is customary to get blessed at a shrine or temple before you begin your New Year Day celebrations. The Sensoji temple is a welcoming and deeper experience than the Roppongi celebrations.

Prior to the countdown we also visited the Hibiya and Ginza area's that a visitor might expect to be celebrating hard ... not a soul on the streets at 23:30.

Surprisingly, the subway was quiet, filled with those people returning home from a last minute shopping trip or from work. Everyone calm and certainly nobody showing the effects of drink.

We managed to finnish the tour by 23:50 and ended up at the Tokyo Dome / Aqua centre, which was hosting a super popular rock concert where 50000 screaming fans had battled to get in earlier this evening. A more muted New Year Celebration was happening in the City of Lights area, with the stage set with a singer and a small audience of 150 - 200 people awaiting the countdown ...

So in the end we celebrated with a KFC bargain bucket and a bottle of wine ... and the satisfied feeling that we are helping future tourists find the right New Years path for them.

Happy New Year everyone ... Our Last Day tomorrow, so we're starting to feel a bit low now :-(

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