In Japan, the old name for December is Shiwasu, which means “as busy as monks running around.” The busyness at the end of the year is the same as it was hundreds of years ago: there is a rush to finish all the things you have been working on before the year ends.
There is also a desire and need to clean and organize the house and decorate for the New Year by purifying the body and soul.
Here’s something else about the Japanese culture in this time of the year. On Dec. 13, there is the Susuharai, “a sweeping soot off” ceremony at many temples and shrines. This is a thank the gods for giving them the strength to survive the coming year because
It is considered an important ritual to dispose of the difficulties and doldrums of the previous year and to help forget the unpleasant things. In Japanese, the phrase Toshi Wasure means “forgetting the old year.” It is a uniquely Japanese expression meaning “to be able to quickly forget the bad things of the previous year and welcome the coming year with a fresh and clear mind.”
Tokyo Markets & Light Displays
Many of Tokyo’s Christmas markets have seasonal treats such as mulled wine as well as performances and concerts. The market in Hibiya has a 14-meter tall “Christmas Pyramid” imported from Germany, while the market in Yebisu Garden Place has a gigantic Baccarat chandelier.
For lights, you don’t have to go far to find them, for they are all over the city at retail hubs, landmarks, and festivals. The trees along Marunouchi’s main shopping street are lit up in a signature color: champagne gold. The light displays around Tokyo Station, Omotesando, and Roppongi Hills are also worth visiting. A short trip from central Tokyo is the amusement park Yomiuriland, which puts up a popular gemstone-themed light display.
Tokyo Skytree Magical Christmas
“Tokyo Skytree Town Magical Christmas 2021,” is taking place at the giant tower, which is lit up for the holidays and has attractions on various floors.
On the 4th floor’s Tembo deck there are decorations and photo spots. There are of the superb views of the city and you can even see Santa Claus on his “sleigh” as he cleans the observatory’s windows in costume.
At 634 meters – 2,880 feet, Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan the tallest tower in the world. It is a broadcast tower and observation deck.
Link: TOKYO SKYTREE
Marunouchi Illuminations 2021 TOKYO TORCH Park
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the events with more than 340 roadside trees in the Marunouchi Area from the Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan in front of Yurakucho Station to Otemachi Naka-dori, centered on Marunouchi Naka-dori, the main street that stretches for about 1.2km.
It is colored with approximately 1.2 million LEDs. At the same time, there is the outdoor plaza “TOKYO TORCH Park” in front of the Tokiwabashi Tower, which opened its grand opening in July this year and became a new landmark in front of the Nihonbashi exit of Tokyo Station.
Many stores have terrace seats in the Marunouchi Area, including the commercial zone “TOKYO TORCH Terrace,” where you can enjoy the illuminations slowly in an outdoor environment.
In addition, as a countermeasure against the new Coronavirus strain, the lighting time of the illuminations, which usually goes from 7 p.m.,-Midnight, has been advanced by two hours like last year, and it will be lit starting at 5 p.m. By having more time to enjoy it, people can spend time outdoors with peace of mind while avoiding crowds.
Ice Skating Rinks
You can’t have winter activities without ice skating. right? Well, Tokyo has several places to enjoy this popular activity, among them Tokyo Midtown, Futako Tamagawa Rise Shopping Center and LaLaport Toyosu.
Tokyo Travel Advice/COVID Guidelines
If you are traveling from abroad to Tokyo, check for the latest guidelines. Travel bans are being re-introduced and can change on a weekly basis. The best way to keep up to date is to visit the Tokyo tourism website at Visit Tokyo.