How People Welcome New Year 2020 in Japan

December in Japan

December is a busy month for everyone. Same as other part of the world, also in Japan many people go shopping or go out to meet friends before the yearend holidays start.

One of the events in December in Japan is bounenkai, year-end party. This is a banquet held at the end of the year, always in December. Generally speaking, it refers to a banquet held to forget the difficult events of the year. Old friends, company colleagues, family, etc. hold parties at home or gather at a Japanese restaurant bar called izakaya.

How people spend time to welcome new year in Kyoto?

Welcoming a new year is a big event in Japan. It’s a tradition that we visit a Buddhist temple on the New Year’s Eve and visit a Shinto Shrine during the first three days of January. In Kyoto, Chion-in Temple and Yasaka Shrine are popular places to celebrate the New Year’s Eve with some religious rituals.

There is no fireworks displays and parties on streets, but people visit a temple to purify themselves before the year ends. Each temple has a big bronze bell and they strike it 108 times around midnight. Chion-in’s bell is one of the biggest in Japan and struck by 17 monks. If you want to have a look at this, you should start waiting in line before 11:30pm to see the bell rung at 12 o’clock.

If you are in Kyoto on 31st December, why don’t you experience count-down in Japanese way?

Things to Do in Kyoto during holiday season

If you have an interest in sake tour, or in order to enjoy your trip in Kyoto more, come and join our tour Kyoto Insider Sake Experience. We are open on most of days during new year holiday season.
You will have a chance to taste local sake in Kyoto and learn all the basics of sake to find your favourite bottle. Send us a message if you have any questions about the tour 🙂


  1. fushimi kyoto canal
  2. sake tasting bar
  3. aoimatsuri


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Our Sake Tour Reviews

  •   So very glad I chose this tour. I had no knowledge of the creative process required for sake production. Kotaro painstakingly walked us through the entire “brewing” procedure and the differences among the many types of sake created with different rices, percentages of polishing, pasteurization...More

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  •   The Sake experience in Kyoto gave us the perfect Chance to learn everything we wanted to know about Sake. Our Host Kotaro was very friendly, answering all of our questions. I liked the variety of Sakes we got to taste and especially the food-pairing was...More

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  •   Very informative tour and tasting. The guide, Kotaro, spoke perfect English and was very knowledgeable. The regular museum was closed (like most of Japan at the moment) but we still managed to visit another brewery instead. The tastings were great - very different styles of...More

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  •   Highly informative tour with excellent explanations behind the different types of sake. Find out which you like and how to find it in a bottle shop!

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  •   We had a fantastic time during our insider sake experience tour. Kotaro was very knowledgeable and friendly and made the experience very enjoyable for us. We learned the true way to enjoy sake both by itself and with food thanks to Kotaro. I would definitely...More

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  •   Extremely informative to finally understand the various types of sake and choose your favourite and how to combine with food. Highly recommended!

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  •   Kotaro was very knowledgeable and described the tour very well. He answered all of my questions and helped out a great deal with my understanding. I would recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in learning about sake

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  •   The tour included a visit to a brewery with our guide, Asahi, giving a very informed overview of how Sake is made. He was able to answer any questions we had and made it an easy process to understand. There were tastings of 3 Sakes...More

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  •   The many reviews saying how good this tour is are spot on: this is a very good tour. Kotaro is very knowledgeable, ready to answer questions from all, whether general, technical or historical. The info he provided, particularly with the food pairing (which was a...More

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  •   Totally awesome experience. Everything was made clear. Meeting point was easy to find - just a couple of hundred metres from the nearest train station. The tour itself was extremely informative and enjoyable. There was two tastings involved - one at the main Sake brewery...More

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