November 28, 2023
What’s Happening in Tokyo this December?
Our picks for the best events to check out this month
December 2, 9, 16 and 23
Odaiba Rainbow Fireworks
Sparkles across the winter sky transform Odaiba into a vision of color. After three years of waiting, Rainbow Fireworks finally returns to Odaiba. Its last show is a coordinated play of light and sound—fireworks change color and undulate with music. The display launches close to Odaiba’s Statue of Liberty, so check the website for the best spot to enjoy the fireworks and Tokyo’s elegant stretching skyline.
7pm – 7:05pm
December 17 – December 19
Get your lucky charms for 2024. Sensoji temple is holding its Hagoita Fair, where street vendors sell traditional luck charms called hagoita. These are rectangular wooden bats, vividly colored and embroidered with images such as flowers and traditional Japanese women in kimonos. The year-end event is a staple for Tokyoites, and its history dates back to the Edo period.
Sensoji, 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku
9am – 9pm
November 23 – December 25
Tokyo Christmas Market
Hosted in the heart of Tokyo, this Christmas Market is reminiscent of those traditionally held in Continental Europe. Wander through the Christmas-themed wooden huts, which sell everything from crafts to delicious German beer and sausages. Take a photo of the impressive Christmas pyramid centerpiece—each of its six levels recounts a story as it slowly revolves. If you’ve already exhausted all of the city’s illuminations, the market brings a different Christmas experience.
Meiji Shrine Outer Garden, 1-1 Kasumigaokamachi, Shinjuku-ku
11am – 9:30pm
November 23 – December 22
Adult: ¥1,000 in weekdays and ¥1,500 in weekends and holidays
December 23 – December 25
December 23 – December 28
Bonfire in December by Puppet Theater PUK
On New Year’s Eve, the beautiful protagonist Marusya goes on a venture of strawberry picking in a forest and encounters the end-of-the-year gathering of elves…So does “Bonfire in December” unfold. Presented by the long-standing Puppet Theater PUK, “Bonfire in December” brings excitement to its audience every winter since 1975. Head to the theater to see how the delicate puppets will tell us a story about the warmth and harshness of nature.
Puke Puppet Theater, 2-12-3 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
December 23 – December 25: 10:30am – 11:50am and 2:00pm – 3:20pm
December 26 – 28: 10:30am – 11:50am
¥3,300 for nonmembers
¥2,640 for membership holders
December 7 – 9
Eectronic music, art, and technology harmonize. A mix of international and local artists, including talents like Haruka, Jane Fitz, and Lynne, collaborate to create unforgettable performances. In this experience, innovation and transformation take center stage. One of the festival’s standout moments is the collaboration between YPY, renowned as Koshiro Hino from the band goat, and Kodo, the celebrated Japanese drumming ensemble. It’s an event that seamlessly blends creative expressions and cutting-edge technology.
2-14-8 2F Shibuya Ward Dogensaka
December 8 – 10
Tokyo Comic Con
Step into the dynamic realm of pop culture, movies, and entertainment at Comic Con, an annual spectacle that unites fans and cosplayers from Japan and beyond. It’s your exclusive ticket to engage with beloved stars like Tom Felton, celebrated for his Harry Potter role, alongside the iconic Christopher Lloyd from Back to the Future, and Evangeline Lilly, renowned for her roles in Lost and The Hobbit Trilogy.
Makuhari Messe (261-0023 Nakase, Mihama-ku, Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan 2-1) Hall 1 ~ Hall 4
Prices range from ¥500 – ¥8,800
December 16 – 17
Jump Festa offers a two-day expo every December. Here, you’re among the very first to discover new manga, anime, films, games and captivating merchandise related to iconic characters like those from One Piece, Dragon Ball, Naruto, Slam Dunk, Bleach, and more. What makes Jump Festa even more exciting is the Jump Super Stage, where creators, artists and voice actors take the spotlight, sharing insights and making this event an absolute must for fans.
2-1 Nakase, Mihama Ward, Chiba
Ako Gishi-sai Festival
The timeless saga of the 47 ronin, samurai bound by honor, evokes deep emotions. Driven by injustice, they plotted for over a year to avenge their leader’s wrongful seppuku. Their triumph was short-lived, as they too faced the same honorable fate. Since the historic events of 1702, Japan has celebrated their unwavering loyalty and sacrifice. The serene Sengakuji temple pays homage to these heroes. The event, filled with incense and traditional street food stalls, culminates in a solemn procession emulating the ronin’s march from Tokyo Tower to Sengaku-ji.
2-11-1 Takanawa, Minato City
December 31 – January 1
Ōji Inari-jinja Shrine Fox Parade
Step into the new year in a new world. On New Year’s Eve, the celebration of hatsumode (the first shrine visit of the year) is infused with the spirit of this folklore. According to Japanese legend, foxes from across the nation gather under a grand tree, donning human disguises, to visit this sacred shrine. Experience this Japanese tradition surrounded by fox masks that replace human faces, intricate fox face paint adding to the mystique, and quirky stands offering fox-themed beverages.
Shozoku Inari-jinja Shrine
December 16 – 25
Broadway Christmas Wonderland
Embark on a magical journey in this Shibuya winter tradition since its 2016 Japanese debut. The show transports you to whimsical Christmas scenes—a festive town, an icy world, and Santa’s lively toy factory. Renowned singers deliver a medley of Christmas songs, accompanied by line dancing, tap performances, and a spellbinding ice-skating show. Immerse yourself in this special Christmas moment, escaping daily life in this English-language performance by the American Company in Japan.
Shibuya Hikarie 11th Floor
2-21-1 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku
Early December – February (TBA)
Yokohama Art Rink
Glide across the open-air ice at the famed tourist destination. Each year, a variety of artists turn the entire skating rink into a blank canvas, letting their creativity shine through in the merge of art and ice skating, all against the backdrop of Minato Mirai. The current Art Rink season highlights the unique artwork of mirocomachiko, renowned for her daring painting style.
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
1-1 Shinko, Naka Ward, Yokohama
On weekends 11am-22pm
December 1 – 25
Shibuya Blue Cave Illumination 2023
Blue Cave returns to Shibuya after a two-year hiatus. Wander from Shibuya crossing to Koen-dori to witness the mesmerizing start of Ao no Dokutsu (Blue Cave). Follow the path uphill to Yoyogi Park, where the captivating Blue Cave bathes the surroundings in a stunning blue glow. With approximately 600,000 lights illuminating the 800-meter display, this is a spectacle you won’t want to miss.
Shibuya Park Street to Yoyogi Park Keyaki Namiki
Late December – January
Geikosai at Yakuoin Mt Takao
Embark on a spiritual journey to Yakuoin, perched atop Mt. Takao to celebrate New Years. Witness the ancient fire rituals conducted by temple priests from midnight to 5 pm, symbolizing protection for pilgrims on their journey in the dark. As the first rays break, join the Geikosai ceremony, a celebration with sutra chants and conch shells, welcoming the sunrise at 6:48am. Mt. Takao, renowned for its majestic views, promises an auspicious start to the New Year, crowned by a potential glimpse of Mt. Fuji.
Yakuoin Mt Takao
2177 Takaomachi, Hachioji
December 14 – February 25
Hokusai Samurai Exhibition
Learn Hokusai’s connection to the samurai ethos at the Sumida Hokusai Museum. Delve into the world of this iconic ukiyo-e artist from the Edo period, where Hokusai’s masterpieces beautifully capture the spirit of the samurai. This special exhibition unveils his compelling works dedicated to the samurai, providing a unique insight into Japan’s transition from feudalism.
The Sumida Hokusai Museum
2-7-2 Kamezawa, Sumida-ku
December 30 – 31
This biannual extravaganza, Comiket, emerged as a haven for manga enthusiasts frustrated with the mainstream’s lack of diversity. What began with a small manga review club has blossomed into a colossal event drawing 30,000 circles and half a million attendees. Step into the dojinshi area and witness the creativity and passion of independent manga creators. Entrance is free, so don’t miss this cultural phenomenon that has become a must-attend for manga fans worldwide.
Tokyo Big Sight
3-11-1 Ariake, Koto-ku