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 🙂