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Happy New Year’s Eve

what to do on new year's eve in tokyo japan

Balloon release countdown for the new year at Zojoji in Tokyo

“Only” 3,000 balloons are given out for the annual New Year countdown at Zojoji in Tokyo so get there early if you want one. It’s a festive atmosphere so the queue isn’t as bad as waiting in line at, say, the DMV or China’s Tokyo Embassy.

Here is more detailed information on the Zojoji Countdown (増上寺 カウントダウン). It’s all in Japanese, but the key thing to note is that the wish cards are handed out beginning at 8:30 p.m. to the first 3,000 people. At 10:30 p.m. you go back to get your balloon. Get there by 8 p.m. and you should be fine. Arrive after 9 p.m. and your odds of getting a balloon are not so good.

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