Packed with endless tourist attractions, Tokyo is a dynamic and bustling city which combines old and modern Japanese traditions. Although a majority of tourists flock to the city during spring and fall, winter is a great time to visit the city. From its night illuminations, festivals, snowy weather, outdoor winter activities and more, here is a short guide of things to do in Tokyo this fall and winter:
Kagurazaka Machi Tobi Festa 2023
Held Oct. 14–Nov. 3, the annual two-week fall festival includes tea ceremonies, concerts and the Bake Neko Festival.
Tokyo International Film Festival 2023
Hosted Oct. 23–Nov. 1, the 36th iteration of the festival will celebrate the work of one of Japan’s most famous directors, Ozu Yasujiro.
Tokyo Ramen Festa 2023
Entry to Komazawa Olympic Park is free, but these tickets can be purchased to try a ton of ramen styles from around Japan (Oct. 26–Nov. 5).
Hakone Daimyo March
The Nov. 3 parade recreates a feudal Japanese sankin kōtai, or daimyo journey.
Jingu Gajen Ginkgo Festival
Between mid-November and early December, stop by the Meiji Jingū Shrine’s outer gardens to see the leaves of the ginkgo trees turn yellow and enjoy street food while you are there.
Autumn Evening Illumination at Rikugien Gardens
This comprises one of the many evening illuminations across the city bringing the gardens to life at night between late November and early December.
Held Dec. 2–3: this yomatsuri (night festival) is one of Japan’s big three hikiyama (float) festivals, featuring floats weighing up to 20 tons each.
Tokyo Comic Con 2023
Held Dec. 8–10, Tokyo Comic Con 2023 lets you get your comic and cosplay fix and meet local and international celebrities at this massive event.
Sensōji Temple Hagoita-Ichi Fair
Running Dec.17–19 at Tokyo’s oldest temple Asakusa’s Sensōji, visit the fair and purchase a hagoita good-luck charm. Remember to clap your hands when the purchase is completed.
Walk along the 1km light-lit walk along Omotesando Avenue with more than 900,000 lights (Dec. 26, 2023–Jan. 5, 2024).
January Grand Sumo Tournament
The first of Japan’s six sumo tournaments, known as honbasho, this annual sporting event is not to be missed.
Beyond the scheduled activities listed above, other experiences to enjoy during the cold months in Tokyo include having a soak in an onsen (bathhouse), shopping at Christmas markets, ice skating at one of the many rinks around the city and watching fireworks set off near Odaiba’s Rainbow Bridge every Saturday in December.
According to Kampgrounds of America’s 2023 report, 38 percent of campers say they will camp during the winter season while another 27 percent say they are thinking about it. Benefits of winter camping include fewer crowds, snowy scenery and opportunities to ski. Cabins and glamping are also growing in popularity this winter season. Here are five winter camping destinations and tips.
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