Countdown to 2020: Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Tokyo

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Sure, New Year’s is typically a family holiday in Japan where you get your fill of osechi fare and sake, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities for revelry and mild shenanigans. Follow the Champagne trail in our guide to New Year’s Eve in Tokyo to discover some of the city’s most electric parties, as well as a couple of traditional options should you prefer to ring some bells (literally) and wish good health for your loved ones at Tokyo’s temples and shrines.

Park Hyatt Tokyo Countdown Lounge

Park Hyatt Tokyo hosts the fifth edition of the ‘Countdown Lounge’ New Year’s Eve celebration at The Peak Lounge & Bar. Celebrate the countdown to 2020 with the eclectic musical styles of this year’s talent while overlooking the stunning panoramic night views of the glittering city lights from the 41st floor atrium of Park Hyatt Tokyo. This year’s Countdown Lounge features Tatsu (formerly of the band LÄ-PPISCH) as the DJ and the popular Latin jazz group Son Sabroson, giving the event an Afro-Cuban flair.

When: December 31
How much: ¥23,000 | VIP ¥150,000
///tame.hello.busters

T-Square Music Festival 2019

T-Square hosts their own music festival starting from December 30 and celebrating the end of 2019 on December 31 with a New Years’ countdown celebration. With 39 years under their belt since their debut, T-Square is one of Japan’s top jazz fusion bands. Reaching the height of fame in the late ’80s and throughout the ’90s, the band continues to record new music and astound audiences at home and abroad.

When: December 30–31
How much: ¥7,000
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Disco & Funk Party Featuring Zapp

Close out the year dancing and grooving to the feel good sounds of legendary funk band Zapp. The group (also previously known as the Zapp Band or Zapp & Roger) formed in Ohio in the late ’70s but hit it big with their 1980 single “More Bounce to the Ounce,”  later influencing the G-funk and West Coast hip hop sound and popularizing the use of the talkbox throughout the ’80s to create a distinct synth vocal style. Zapp return to Billboard Live Tokyo for a handful of lively year end shows sure to get you feeling in the party spirit.

When: December 31
How much: ¥8,500~¥11,000
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2020 Countdown Party at Ageha

A huge countdown club party offers house, EDM, bass, trance and hip hop with dance crews, live performances and it’s own version of essential New Year’s traditions. English DJ & Producer Sigala and Japan’s very own Capsule (Yasutaka Nakata and vocalist Toshiko Koshijima) headline the New Year’s party at Tokyo’s legendary nightclub Ageha. The club at Studio Coast is renowned for it’s impressive lighting and sound system, huge capacity and festival atmosphere hosting the the wildest parties in town. If you’re looking to shake off 2019 in style and fist pump your way in the New Year at the heart of the club scene, then this may be the one for you.

When: December 31
How much: General advance ¥5,500 | Golden ticket ¥10,000
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Vision New Year’s Eve Countdown Party 2020

Round off the end of the year at the heart of the Shibuya club scene! Sound Museum Vision’s New Year’s Eve Party Countdown to 2020 sees Maya Jane Coles and Anja Schneider split the headlining duties bringing the best of the current techno and house scene to close out 2019. This year’s NYE line up also includes sets by Drunken Kong, Mayudepth. DJ Samura, Ishijima and more. With the popular club offering 4 spaces to explore you can keep the good times going all the way into the new decade!

When: December 31
How much: ¥3,500~¥5,000 | Under 23 ¥2,500
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Joypolis Countdown Party 2020

For gamer lovers, thrill seekers and fun hunters, Joypolis Countdown Party is an alternative way to see out the year. If you don’t want to stay home and watch TV, but clubs and bars aren’t your thing, why not spend a lively NYE at an indoor amusement park. A special New Year’s Eve passport will give you unlimited rides on all attractions from 10pm to 5am, including the latest technology VR games, so you can shoot, slide, spin and scream all night. In addition, a countdown party spectacular will be held on the event stage featuring celebrity impressionists and comedians with party poppers and tickets for a price draw given out to the first 1,000 guests.

When: December 31
How much: New Year’s Eve passport ¥3,200 | Elementary, junior high & high school students ¥2,200
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Womb Presents New Year Countdown to 2020

Countdown to 2020 and party through the early hours of a new decade at Shibuya club favorite Womb. This year’s special guest DJ is internationally acclaimed French techno master and groovy house aficionado Agoria, who is taking a break from his Ibiza residency to keep the main room in the zone along with DJ Sodeyama, DJ Kyoko and Maream. Womb lounge and the VIP lounge also have strong lineups so rest assured you’ll be in good hands for an unforgettable New Year’s night.

When: December 31
How much: Men ¥3,500~¥5000 | Women ¥3,000~¥4,500
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Ritz-Carlton Countdown Party

Looking for something sophisticated and luxurious to do this New Year’s Eve? The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo holds it’s annual Countdown Party in the Lobby Lounge & Bar on the hotel’s 45th floor. Dress to impress and enjoy free-flowing champagne and canapés as you gaze out over some of the most spectacular views of the city. A special lucky draw and live music will add to the party atmosphere – whether you prefer to spend the night relaxing in a sumptuous arm chair or mingling with the other guests is simply up to you.

When: December 31
How much: From ¥30,000~ | Reservations required
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Tableaux New Year’s Eve

Tableaux in Daikanyama welcomes the new year in style, presenting live music in the lounge and patio areas. Latin jazz band Descargando with Eric Fukusaki and funk jazz band Funk Afro Unit give Tableaux’s signature sophisticated jazz atmosphere. Chef Takeshi Inoue offers a New Year’s Eve special limited dinner course and Dom Pérignon will be available at the limited-time price at both venues.

When: December 31
How much: Special course ¥8,500
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Legato New Year’s Eve Celebration

Celebrate the New Year at Cafe Legato’s New Year’s Eve party. From the 15th floor of E Space Tower at the top of Dogenzaka, Cafe Legato boasts a picturesque view of the city at night. DJs will set the mood for the party while guests have the option of ordering from the restaurant’s special one-night only course that comes with a limited-time discount on vintage Dom Pérignon Champagne. Latin band Alexander LP & Puros Habanos will take to the stage for a lively performance to lead you into the new year.

When: December 31
How much: Free entry | Reservations required
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Tokyo Countdown 2020

Shibuya’s largest New Year’s countdown festival is celebrating the Olympic year of 2020 at the venue BelleSalle Shibuya Garden. The event will feature a strong lineup including Vitalic, Dusty Kid, Alex Metric and other artists who’ve appeared at the world’s top music festivals such as Coachella, Tomorrowland and Burning Man. There will also be supporting acts and dancing performances from various groups.

When: December 31
How much: Advance ¥15,000 | Door ¥18,000
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Image:©HI CHU via Flickr under CC

New Year’s Day First Sunrise at Tokyo Skytree

A limited number of people can experience the new year’s first sunrise from Tokyo’s premier observation attraction. Hatsuhinode is the practice of watching the first sunrise of the new year. This popular tradition is thought to bring in good fortune and signify renewal, so many Japanese people flock to places with spectacular views in the early hours of January 1. Tokyo Skytree is opening up extra early for eager sunrise seekers. The event is strictly limited to 940 people, most of whom have already been selected by ticket lottery, although there will be 50 additional tickets sold from 5:30am at the 4F ticket counter on a first come first served basis.

Later on in the day, throughout its regular opening hours, there will be a number of special New Year’s attractions, including demonstrations by local sumo wrestlers and greetings from Skytree mascot Sorakara chan.

When: January 1, 2020
How much: ¥8,000
///quack.bits.soak

Hatsumode and Joyasai at Meiji Shrine

Hatsumode, or first shrine visit of the year, is the traditional Japanese way to welcome the New Year, and Meiji Shrine is one of the most popular locations for the event. Join over three million people during the first three days of the year to pray and purchase items such as bells and votive tablets featuring 2019’s zodiac animal. You can also attend the joyasai year-end ritual, or the last ceremony of the year, where Shinto priests pray for peace in the coming year and give thanks to the past year for its smooth passing and safety. 

When: December 31, 2019–January 3, 2020
How much: Free
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Traditional Japanese New Year at Zojoji Temple

On the first day of the New Year, the Japanese tradition of Joya no Kane (New Year’s bell) dictates that the large bells inside Buddhist temples are struck 108 times. The number 108 represents the number of bonnou (earthly desires of man) that bring suffering. The ringing of the bells gets rid of evil spirits, allowing you to welcome the New Year with a clean spirit.

When: January 1, 2020
How much: Free
///entertainer.sanded.finest

Feature photo of Shibuya Crossing by Michal Staniewski / Shutterstock.com

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