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The Voice of Tokyo for over 50 Years

JAPAN’S NO.1 ENGLISH LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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21 Things To Do in Tokyo During the Holidays

Tokyo Weekender's guide to the best events, activities and things to do in the city on Christmas and New Year's

By Weekender Editor

This year was wild. As 2021 draws to a close, Christmas and New Year celebrations are in full swing. Below are some of our favorite illuminations (perfect for a Christmas date) and celebratory events to attend should you be looking to end the year with a bang. For those who want to keep it business as usual, we’ve got our favorite ongoing events rounded up as well.

Note: Be sure to stay updated on Covid-19 measures throughout Japan.

Skip ahead:

Christmas Events

1. Shibuya Scramble Xmas

Shibuya Scramble Square is hoping Tokyoites will look to Shibuya as their neighborhood of choice to celebrate the holidays this year. Attend one of the dozens of events held until December 25 or shop for limited-edition items at the Shibuya Scramble Xmas Market. Special lotteries are also open to shoppers who want to win exclusive goodies. Finally, head up to Shibuya Sky for a special exhibition featuring art layered onto the Tokyo skyline. All this and more throughout the shopping complex.

When: Until Dec 25
More details here.

2. Christmas Cheer at The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho

With the theme of “Gift for the Future,” guests and visitors can join in on the activities that will definitely bring in the holiday cheer this year at The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho.

From creating your own Christmas tree ornament inscribed with your personal holiday wishes or messages, to special hotel plans with a room filled with Steiff teddy bears and gorgeous Christmas decorations, the Christmas spirit is all around this luxury hotel.

When: Until Jan 1
More details here.

3. Christmas Market at Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

The Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse is hosting its annual Christmas Market with extra caution and prior online registration required on peak days. As always, the event features food stalls and pop-up stores featuring seasonal favorites such as mulled wine and more. The 10-meter Christmas tree stands tall and creates a holiday atmosphere.

When: Until Dec 25
More details here.

4. Baccarat Eternal Lights Illumination at Yebisu Garden Place

Yebisu Garden Place is a go-to location in Tokyo for a romantic winter illumination date. Every season, many Tokyoites come to enjoy the small shops and see the decorated Christmas tree. Even more mesmerizing is the display of one of the world’s largest Baccarat chandeliers. This year’s illumination theme is “when there is light, there is hope.”

When: Until Jan 10
More details here.

5. Tokyo Michi Terrace 2021 Illumination

The theme of this year’s illumination is “dawn.” Tokyo Michi Terrace has planned a production inspired by the saying 明けない夜はない or “there is no night without a dawning.” The area surrounding Tokyo Station as well as the tall trees in the Marunouchi Central Square and along Gyoko-dori will all light up. The colors will gradually change to create the soothing transition resembling that of a sunrise.

When: Until Dec 25
More details here.

6. Roppongi Hills Christmas 2021

Roppongi Hills comes to life when the whole complex is awash with light, celebrating the season all the way along the Keyakizaka-dori, Mohri Garden and the Christmas tree at Roku-Roku Plaza. Watch some 70,000 lights glitter along the elegant streets of Roppongi. Make the most of the holiday season as you stroll through the stores and hunt for festive mulled wine.

When: Until Dec 25
More details here.

7. Tokyo Midtown Christmas 2021

Under the concept of “Vivid,” this year’s festive event will present an exciting and colorful Christmas scene. In addition to the tree illumination, there will be snow globes trapping the beautiful moments of the four seasons, colorful trees marking the countdown to Christmas and other installations, including the popular skating rink, that will heighten your anticipation for the holidays.

When: Until Dec 25
More details here.

8. Kitte Marunouchi: White Kitte Christmas

This year’s Christmas event will be held under the concept of “Japanese style and novelty.” In the atrium on the first floor, immerse yourself in a white winter wonderland created with approximately 12,000 sheets of washi snow falling from the ceiling. Keep your eyes open for other beautiful decorations throughout the shopping complex and Christmas deals at select stores.

When: Until Dec 25
More details here.

9. Magical Christmas at Tokyo Skytree Town

Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Skytree Town will be decked out in Christmas colors and lights. An eight-meter Christmas tree will be on display featuring gorgeous lights. Not to mention the Tokyo Skytree Town ice skating park, which will also be open until March 6, 2022. Enjoy the festive messages lit up on Tokyo Skytree while ice skating with friends, family and loved ones this holiday.

When: Until Dec 25
More details here.

10. Omohara no Mori Christmas Illumination 2021

Omohara no Mori on the rooftop of Tokyu Hands Omotesando lights up during the holiday season. The illumination is designed to give off a warm and relaxing feel using blue and white lights that complement the surrounding nature. On your way down, you can do some Christmas shopping as the stores feature various Christmas-themed items and gifts for your loved ones.

When: Until Dec 25
More details here.

11. Twinkle Color Christmas 2021

This year, Shinjuku Southern Terrace will be lit up with fantastical “Mirrorbowler” mirror balls and a Christmas tree in collaboration with Kiki & Lala, Little Twin Stars. Don’t miss out on the stunning Christmas tree decorated with pink and blue light baubles.

When: Until Feb 14
More details here.

12. Hibiya Magic Time Illumination 2021

The concept for this event is “a moment like magic.” Hibiya is a town that frequently appears in movies and television dramas, making it the best place to take a moment away from everyday life. The illuminations are champagne gold and amber, giving a warm and relaxing vibe to the whole area. Go to the Park View Winter Garden on the sixth floor for more illuminations and a beautiful view of city lights.

When: Until Feb 14
More details here.

New Year’s Events

13. Year-End Dinner Buffet at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

This year’s year-end dinner buffet offers a wide variety of Japanese, Western and Chinese dishes and sweets. Peking duck, sirloin roast beef and seasonal amberjack sake shabu-shabu are just a few of the freshly prepared dishes that will delight your taste buds. Enjoy the cuisine and the fantastic city view all while cherishing a wonderful and exciting evening with your family and loved ones.

When: Until Dec 28
More details here.

park hyatt tokyo new year celebration

14. Countdown to 2022 at The Peak Lounge & Bar, Park Hyatt Tokyo

The sixth edition of the Countdown Lounge New Year’s Eve celebration at The Peak Lounge & Bar is back after a two-year hiatus. Celebrate the countdown to 2022 with eclectic music while overlooking the panoramic views of the glittering city lights from the 41st-floor atrium of Park Hyatt Tokyo.

To welcome in the new year, international DJ Guy Perryman will perform. Joining him on alternate sets will be a live band led by Philip Woo, featuring Chloe, Harumo Imai, and Keith Williamson, to bring soul, acid jazz, and funk to the evening.

When: Dec 31
More details here.

15. Roppongi Hills New Year 2022

To celebrate the year of the tiger, 2022, a wide array of tasty traditional Japanese dishes cooked with extravagant seasonal ingredients will be served at Roppongi Hills. Many will have tiger stripes even. Stores around the complex will be offering fukubukuro lucky bags too.

At the Roppongi Hills Arena, Shishimai, a traditional Japanese lion dance, will be performed on January 1, from 12pm to 3pm. The Tokyo City Sky View Deck will be open from 10am for visitors to bask in the first daylight of the new year.

When: Jan 1–3
More details here.

TW Picks

16. Emergence Tokyo Vol. 3 Photo Exhibition & Opening Party

Terranova House presents, “Emergence Tokyo Vol. 3,” a collaborative exhibition showcasing some of Tokyo’s best established and up-and-coming photographers, and is the fifth in a series of exhibitions to take place at the “House” located in the trendy neighborhood of Yoyogi-Uehara.

This volume of “Emergence Tokyo” will be extra special because the well-known Japanese photographer Herbie Yamaguchi will be the special guest photographer. Herbie was living in London when the punk movement burgeoned more than four decades ago and specialized in portraits of British musicians from about 1975 until 1985. He spent his time living on other people’s floors and at one point was the flatmate of Boy George. He has captured everyone from Bananarama to Psychic TV to Alan Wilder (formerly of Depeche Mode), and including Boy George, Bono, Brian Setzer, Billy Idol, and Spandau Ballet.

When: Dec 24–29
More details here.

17. Sumida Aquarium: Around Breath

The Sumida Aquarium is holding a special, hands-on event inspired by the oxygen bubbles created by the photosynthesis of aquatic plants. The aquarium will also feature a fascinating exhibition showcasing the unique breathing techniques of sea creatures.

Until: Feb 28
More details here.

18. Shohei Miyachi: Blow

The Container is delighted to host the first solo exhibition in Japan of Shizuoka-born photographer Shohei Miyachi. The exhibition Blow presents works from Miyachi’s practice over the last decade in New York and Tokyo, documenting and capturing moments of intimacy and sexual acts between men. Often featuring himself, Miyachi’s work highlights his interest in sexuality, the human body and in performance art. It also chronicles his journey in navigating stigma and self-acceptance as a Japanese man.

Until: Feb 28
More details here.

19. Lacquer Art Exhibition: Until Dawn by Eiko Tanaka

Eiko Tanaka is a woodturner and lacquer artist based in Kaga City, Ishikawa Prefecture. Tanaka does everything herself, from the preparation of the materials to the finishing touches. Curves, created by her advanced wood-turning technique and a glossy world-view expressed by black-red lacquer, leave a lasting impression. It makes you feel that the darkness of night is approaching.

In this exhibition, Huls Gallery Tokyo showcases Tanaka’s lacquerwork including sake cups for restaurants and bars and art panels.

When: Until Dec 25
More details here.

Jesper Just, Corporealités #4, 2021, Framed photography. 67 x 92 x 3.7 cm. 1/3 Editions + 2 AP. Courtesy Perrotin

20. Jesper Just Exhibition: Seminarium

Perrotin Tokyo is hosting Jesper Just’s first solo exhibition in Japan. The Danish artist is known worldwide for his films and multi-projection video installations.

Seminarium is an amalgamated installation of four recently produced film works extending throughout the gallery. The viewer is part of an intimate and sensual encounter with luminous violet bodies and a floating woman whose voice fills the exhibition. “Experience emotional wellness with clinically proven biofeedback technology,” the voice intones. “Ready. Play. Feel…”

Seminarium addresses the perpetual human drive – past and present – to cultivate super-plants and super-bodies: to control nature and force it to assume specific shapes and properties.

When: Until Dec 28
More details here.

21. Hiromart Gallery: Winter Show

Hiromart Gallery is hosting its annual group exhibition Winter Show which features gallery artists from previous exhibitions. This year, the lineup includes Canadian painter Robin Fry as well as Japanese artists Sachie Kashima and Masanobu Sakakibara.

Notes from the gallery: Admission may be limited when the space is crowded. Please wear a face mask or covering. Please understand that hours and closure times of the gallery may be subject to change without notice depending on the situation concerning Covid-19.

When: Until Jan 23
More details here.