TOKYO NOW―Email Newsletter from TOKYO to you

Vol.130, January 2022

A Backdrop of Hills, Skyscrapers, and Wonderful Phenomenons All in Tokyo

From Editor


Every New Year’s holiday, I observe the Japanese tradition of Hatsumode by going to Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa to pray for the coming year. Of course, for 2022, I pray that everyone will be able to freely travel across the borders into Japan. Also, viewing Mt. Fuji on New Year’s Day is said to bring good luck. In fact, there is a great observation deck on the 5th floor of the international terminal at Haneda Airport called “Fujimidai” where you can witness the iconic mountain. This year, I hope that everyone will receive good fortune by viewing Mt. Fuji from there!

Kyoko Higashi / TOKYO NOW Editorial staff

News & Topics

  • Walk & Tour

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has begun a trial run of digital maps for sightseeing in Shinjuku. The maps use technology from Stroly, a company that deploys digital maps linked to location information through its platform. There are three themed maps: “Neo-Shinjuku” (covering Kabukicho), “The Best Neighborhoods to Stroll in Shinjuku” (covering sightseeing locations throughout Shinjuku), and “Tales and Histories in Shinjuku, Tokyo” (an illustrated historical map of Shinjuku). You can use these maps to browse information about sightseeing spots, use GPS to display your current location, and switch between maps for a virtual sightseeing experience. Now even if you’re overseas, you can still explore and learn about Shinjuku virtually.

  • Attraction
  • Central Tokyo

The Imperial Hotel celebrated its 130th anniversary in November 2020 and has recently unveiled images of the redesign for its main hotel in Tokyo. The Imperial Hotel opened in 1890 and quickly became a symbol of Japan’s efforts to Westernize. Since then, the Tokyo hotel has also served as a State Guest House and one of the capital’s most well-known landmarks. Plans are currently underway to build the fourth generation of the hotel, which is expected to open in 2036. Currently residing in France, Japanese architect Tsuyoshi Tane has designed a one-of-a-kind guesthouse that combines the appearance of a palace to welcome guests with towers as befitting of a new State Guest House, that of which represents a testament to the progress of mankind.

  • Northern Tokyo

Would you believe it if someone said you could see the Northern Lights in Tokyo more than any other place in the world? At the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo you can. The hotel uses the topography of its garden (which is enclosed by architecture and nature that changes with the season) and six layers of light (shines in six directions) to recreate the aurora borealis across the night sky. This winter, in the middle of the urban oasis of Tokyo, you can gaze up at the jaw-dropping “Forest Aurora,” and all year round, enjoy a magical scenery at the hotel’s “Tokyo Sea of Clouds”. While this sea of clouds is a natural phenomenon that could appear when limited conditions are met in the mountains, like the aurora borealis, it uses a special technology along with mist to recreate a similar phenomenon. The Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo’s special events are some of the most famous attractions in Tokyo.

  • Food & Drink
  • Central Tokyo

Tokyo, known as the city with the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, also promotes a diverse selection of food so that it caters to the tastes of people from different cultures. Part of our latest scoop tells us that all-day vegan café ZEN Ginza is now open for business at Hotel Gracery Ginza. The wellness café serves organic, vegan, and low-carb dishes. It also offers live internet streaming of violin and piano concerts by popular live performers from 9pm. ZEN Ginza is another welcomed addition to Tokyo’s budding nightlife.

  • Attractions
  • Western Tokyo

Shinjuku Kabukicho is one of the foremost centers of urban tourism in the world. It’s been under redevelopment for some time, but that’s foreseeably coming to January in 2023. There’ll be new entertainment facilities, like cinema, theater, and live entertainment venue, that’ll showcase different cultures. You’ll also find two brand hotels that incorporate the city’s culture such as art and music and a high-rise commercial complex, the Tokyu Kabukicho Tower with a shuttle bus scheduled to open in the spring of 2023. In response to the spread of COVID-19, the development of these facilities included taking on new leading measures to combat infectious diseases as well as providing new safety measures so you can enjoy entertainment and lodging worry free.

  • Nature
  • Outlying Area

With Tokyo entering the dawn of a pandemic age, Tokyoites are becoming more and more interested in spending their holidays in the suburbs. There are many places in Tokyo that meet these needs. In the lush nature of the Akikawa Hills in western Tokyo, you can enjoy catching big fish at FISH UP Lake Akikawa. It’s one of the largest pond-type sport fishing areas in Tokyo, and with its 2021 fishing season now open to the public, it’s yet another great place for you to discover in the big city of Tokyo.

Get Inquisitive by Kyoko Higashi

Tokyo's Three, Ever-Prominent Terminal Station Area

Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro are some of the busiest and most vibrant parts of Japan’s capital and are currently undergoing redevelopment with more transformation to unfold even after 2022. But before that, we look onto something more near-at-hand, the special season known as New Year’s Holidays for these spots!

Around December, they become something magical while celebrating the coming of the new year. However, because of COVID-19, this year will be a bit different again. Its “Blue Cave/Grotto” event where local trees are adorned with 600,000 lights has been canclled, something that many people have been eagerly waiting for. Usually, about 100,000 people gather in Shibuya for the New Year events, but, this year has each greeted its revelers with anticipation to places like Shibuya Scramble Square, the Meiji Jingu Shrine, and Yoyogi Park. Hopefully, we’ll see a return to Shibuya’s usual year-end and new year celebrations by next year.

Shinjuku will most likely also have to hold a quieter Winter Holiday than usual. As expected of the busiest station in the world that offers access to everything from skyscrapers to shrines and relaxing green spaces etc., December around Shinjuku tends to be a crowded affair, which Tokyo is trying to avoid this year.
As for the future, the city is currently widening and connecting the station’s East and West exits, which will make reveling around Shinjuku much easier… around 2047, when the work is scheduled to finish. But fret not! – you may set your eyes on the Kabukicho area as it welcomes a revamp by 2022.

So while there might be fewer celebrations in Ikebukuro this year, its future, as well as that of Shibuya and Shinjuku, is looking very bright. As for Ikebukuro, we’re currently seeing the area around the station transforming from a mecca of shopping and pop culture to a place of art galleries, stage shows. Work is also currently underway to transform the area around Ikebukuro’s West Exit into an International City of Arts & Culture. In Ikebukuro, the recommended New Year celebration includes experiences like observing the first sunrise of the new year from Sunshine City’s SKY CIRCUS Sunshine 60 Observatory, which was held on January 1, 2021.

Pick up Movies

Tokyo Future Travel
Come see what exciting changes are in store for Japan’s capital.

Monozukuri Series
Edo Oshi-e Hagoita Padded Collage Paddles

Glocal Sento | Koganeyu
Koganeyu, A Sophisticated Public Bathhouse in Kinshicho

2020 Tokyo Night Walk with Christmas Illuminations
Enjoy Tokyo’s 2020 Christmas illuminations in stunning 4K resolution

Tokyo Event Calendar

Check out these annual festivals and events held in Tokyo. You can see the list of all major festivals, fireworks, parades, religious events, and other events in Greater Tokyo.
*Depending on the situation, festivals and events scheduled in 2021 may be canceled. Please check the official website for the latest information.

Download for This Month

Please click on the links below to download the photos, press releases and new opening accommodation list

Issue by: Tokyo Convention & Visitor Bureau
Support by: Tourism Division, Bureau of Industry and Labor Affairs, Tokyo Metropolitan Government