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Capturing the First Light: Best Spots to Witness the New Year's Sunrise in Tokyo

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2023.12.14 (Thu)

By Dan Lewis, inbound tourism adviser and consultant, long-term Japan resident & outdoor activity enthusiast.

As the calendar turns a new page, the first sunrise of the year, known as 'Hatsuhinode' in Japan, brings a burst of 'sun-sational' cultural significance. It's a time for reflection, renewal, and setting intentions for the coming year. Let’s explore the cultural importance of Hatsuhinode and recommend some prime locations in Tokyo to witness this breathtaking event.

Since its construction, TOKYO SKYTREE—which is located near Asakusa—has been a landmark of Tokyo, along with the Tokyo Tower. Here are 3 unique spots in Taito City where you can take pictures of TOKYO SKYTREE.

One of the top locations to witness the first sunrise is the Sumida River Terrace in Sumida Park, offering a stunning view of the Tokyo Sky Tree®. The eastern direction of the Tokyo Sky Tree® allows spectators to revel in the changing hues of the sky before and after the sun emerges. The collaboration between the world's tallest radio tower and the sunrise creates a magical atmosphere, with colors shifting every second. Arrive early, capture the moment in your mind and through your lens, and experience the unique charm of the first sunrise. The Sumida River Terrace is also a great spot to enjoy the sunset, providing a different yet equally captivating atmosphere.

The Sumida River Terrace is conveniently located within walking distance of Senso-ji Temple, a popular tourist attraction in Taito City. Given its proximity, the area is expected to draw crowds on New Year's Day, as people gather to pay their first visit to Senso-ji Temple and witness the first sunrise over the Sumida River. Be prepared for the hustle and bustle, and may you have a wonderful New Year's holiday in Japan.

Sumida Park's entrance is just a five-minute walk from Asakusa Station on the Ginza, Asakusa, and Tobu Isesaki lines, making it easily accessible for both locals and tourists.

As you plan your New Year's celebration in Tokyo, consider incorporating the tradition of Hatsuhinode into your experience. Choose one of the recommended spots, such as the Sumida River Terrace, to witness the first light of the year against the iconic backdrop of the Tokyo Sky Tree®. Capture the magic, embrace the cultural significance, and usher in the new year with hope and positivity.

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