Hatsuhinode is an essential part of Japanese culture. It’s the Japanese term to welcome the first sunrise of the new year. Japanese appreciate many “first” occasions of the new year and watching the first sunrise, Hatsuhinode is one of them.
Many people get up early, leave their houses, and go out to watch the first sunrise. Then, visit shrines or temples to complete their first visit of the new year – Hatsumode. So why don’t you find out where to go from the list below and make your new year’s day morning special!
1. Tokyo Tower
As there are many tall buildings in central Tokyo, places to watch the sunrise is limited. The observation deck in Tokyo Tower is definitely one of them! You can watch Hatsuhinode at 150 meters above sea level! They open early for New Year’s Day, but it may get crowded.
Another attraction of visiting Tokyo Tower on New Year’s Day is that they give celebration medals for visitors! (The quantity is limited. It’s on first-come, first-served basis)
2. Sunshine 60 Observatory SKY CIRCUS
Sunshine 60 Observatory SKY CIRCUS is an observatory located in Ikebukuro. You can watch the Hatsuhinode 250 meters above sea level! Take note that the ticket is limitedly sold, and no tickets are sold at the counter. Early bird tickets are available for purchase at 7/11 convenience stores. So if you are interested in watching Hatsuhinode at Sunshine 60 Observatory SKY CIRCUS, make sure to purchase the ticket in advance.
3. Tokyo Sky Tree
Among all towers and observatories in Tokyo, Tokyo Sky Tree is the tallest! Being the tallest tower in Japan, you will be able to watch the Hatsuhinode at 350 meters above sea level and 450 meters above sea level! (There are two observatories in Tokyo Sky Tree) Getting to Tokyo Sky Tree’s observatory might be the hardest because you have to win the lottery to buy a ticket! But don’t give up. Although the number is limited, they sell some tickets at the counter. So be sure to get here really early to watch amazing sunrise!
Tokyo Sky Tree offers various other events for the New Year holidays, such as sumo wrestling experience with real sumo wrestlers! Tokyo Sky Tree and Tokyo Solamachi Shopping Mall are fun places to visit during the new year holidays!
Website: http://www.tokyo-skytree.jp/news/info/94 (Japanese Only)
4. Mt. Takao
Mt. Takao is located on the west side of Tokyo. It’s one of the most famous destinations for hiking in Tokyo, attracting over 2.6 million people each year. That is the most significant number in the world! With that in mind, it is no wonder that Mt. Takao became a destination to watch Hatsuhinode. You might be scared to hike up the mountain before the sunrise. You don’t have to worry because the cable car operates super early for those people who visit Mt. Takao to watch the Hatsuhinode!
Inubosaki is one of the most famous places to watch Hatsuhinode around Tokyo. The reason why? Because it’s located at the eastmost point of Japan, Inubosaki is the first place the sun rises in Japan! (Except mountain summits and islands) You can watch the sunrise from the sea, and the experience will be unforgettable. Note that there will be heavy traffic every year on New Year’s Day around Inubosaki, so take public transportation if you can. JR trains and Choshi Dentetsu will operate in the special schedule for the New Year’s Day.
Website: https://www.city.choshi.chiba.jp/kanko/hinode/ (Japanese Only)
6. Chiba Port Tower
Chiba Port Tower is a great place to watch Hatsuhinode because the observatory offers 360 degrees of panoramic views. Because it faces the ocean, you can watch the sunrise from the sea! The magnificent views of the sky and ocean will surely impress you. Chiba Port Tower is located conveniently with approximately 12 minutes walk from JR Keiyo Line Chiba-Minato Station. The capacity is limited to 200 people, so make sure to be there early if you want to get a good spot.
Website: https://www.chibacity-ta.or.jp/events/event/hatsuhinoderinjikaikan2017 (Japanese Only)
7. Mt. Tsukuba
Mt. Tsukuba is a mountain located in Ibaraki Prefecture, and it is a common hiking destination for beginners to advanced hikers. Like Mt. Takao, their cable car and ropeway will operate from the morning, so you don’t have to worry about hiking in the dark. They also give away special lucky charm to the first 500 visitors, so make sure to get that souvenir, too! Since Mt. Tsukuba is a sacred mountain with Tsukubasan Shrine, you can also complete Hatsumode, the first visit to shrines/temples of the New Year.
8. Oarai Isosaki Shrine
Oarai Isosaki Shrine is a sacred shrine that was established in 856. The shrine is particularly famous for the Torii gate located off the coast below the main building of the shrine. The sun rises between the pillars of the Torii gate here, which makes watching Hatsuhinode here magical and photogenic. Many people gather here to watch the Hatsuhinode and pray for the happiness and prosperity of the year to come every year.
9. Landmark Tower Observatory SKY GARDEN
Landmark Tower Observatory is located 273 meters above sea level, and you can look down the city of Yokohama and the ocean together! The landscape of skyscrapers, an amusement park, and the beautiful ocean is majestic, and you will lose a word once the sun starts to rise. With many surrounding attractions, Landmark Tower Observatory would make a perfect place to start the first day of the new year.
10. Enoshima and surrounding beaches
Enoshima is a tied island that sticks out from the beaches in the Kamakura area. It’s a famous destination to watch the Hatsuhinode in the Kamakura area, and many crowds gather here every year! Anywhere around Enoshima is suitable to watch Hatsuhinode. Still, you have to find a spot where you can fit in because there are people everywhere. You can also see Mt. Fuji from here if the sky is clear and sunny.
11. Cape Manazuru
Cape Manazuru is located in the Mazuru area, which is approximately 2 hours train ride from central Tokyo. The sun rises from the back of Manazuru’s symbol “Mitsuishi,” meaning three rocks at Banbaura Beach. The sun colors the sea orange, and the silhouette of Mitsuishi looks beautiful. Note that this cape is a little difficult to access without a vehicle, so use either a taxi or car.
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Information in this article are as of published or updated date.