January 2018 Events Calendar

contribute by Keri C

January 1st – New Year’s Day

Shopping malls/stores across Japan – Fukubukuro Shopping

Celebrate the new year by experiencing Japan’s version of Black Friday! On New Year’s Day across Japan you’ll find stores selling “fukubukuro” (a.k.a. Lucky Bags), bags stuffed full of special merchandise from that store/café/restaurant and priced at a flat fee. Traditionally the contents inside these fukubukuro are a surprise (many stores nowadays advertise what’s inside their fukubukuro ahead of time) so you won’t know until after you’ve bought the bag if you got lucky with the contents or unlucky. Chances are, though, you’re getting a great deal since these bags typically feature merchandise that is steeply discounted or limited edition. Be sure to line up early for the more popular chain stores (like Starbucks)!

Shrines across Japan – Hatsumode

Hatsumode is the traditional first shrine visit of the new year and typically occurs somewhere between New Year’s Day and January 3rd. If you visit a shrine during this time of year you’ll notice they’re quite busy (some with parking extending way past the usual parking spaces allotted). It’s lucky to visit shrines during this time and say a prayer, buy some omamori (amulets to protect you against various evils), and get a blessing for the New Year. Traditionally you’d also turn over your old omamori from the previous year to be burned since their luck has been expended over the course of the previous year. Those looking to appreciate and experience some of the local culture should definitely consider visiting one of the big shrines like Naritazan or Naminoue during this time period!

Various resorts in Okinawa (see description for individual ones) – New Year’s Eve Countdown/Fireworks

Enjoy the countdown to the new year at/around various popular resorts in Okinawa and see spectacular fireworks to start the year off right. The following resorts have countdown parties and fireworks that you can either pay a fee to enjoy or enjoy from a distance if you live or park nearby:

ANA Intercontinental Manza Beach Resort – https://www.anaintercontinental-manza.jp/event/newyear2018/

Hotel Moon Beach – https://www.moonbeach.co.jp/2017/12/01/2017-2018-ホテルムーンビーチ年末年始イベントのご案内/

Okinawa Zanpa Misaki Royal Hotel – https://www.daiwaresort.jp/okinawa/event/winter_newyear000/index.html

January 1st – end of February

Renaissance Okinawa Resort – Renaissance Okinawa Resort Illumination

Visit Renaissance Okinawa Resort in the months of November through February for free festive lights displays for Christmas and New Year. It should be a small but beautiful beach-side display. Please visit the following link for more information: www.renaissance-okinawa.com/redchristmas-newyear/

TEL: 098-965-0707 Japan, 904-0416 Okinawa Prefecture, Kunigami District, Onna, Yamada, 3425−2

Okuma Private Beach & Resort – Okuma JAL Private Resort Illumination

Okuma Resort is also hosting a free Christmas lights display to light up your holiday season (during the same period as the Renaissance Okinawa Resort lights display)! Please visit the following website for more information on this display: https://okumaresort.com/info/hotel/545

TEL: 980-41-2222 Japan, 905-1412 Okinawa Prefecture, Kunigami District, Kunigami, Okuma, 913

January 1st – February 18th

Southeast Botanical Gardens – Tonan Night Decoration

Visit the scenic Southeast Botanical Gardens between 5 and 10 p.m. during this date range for festive holiday lights throughout the gardens! The prices are as follows: Adults – 1800 yen each, High School students – 1000 yen each, Middle & Elementary students – 500 yen, and children 6 and under are free. Please visit the following website for more information: https://www.southeast-botanical.jp/events/detail.php?id=41

TEL: 98-939-2555  2146 Chibana, Okinawa, Okinawa Prefecture 904-2143, Japan

January 2nd – February 25th

Yomitan Village, Murasaki-Mura – Ryukyu Night Lantern Festival

This annual event is a beautiful thing to behold as you walk through Murasaki-mura park at night surrounded by thousands of brightly lit colorful lanterns (their Facebook page states that this year’s event will feature 50,000 lanterns). There are usually food/vendor stalls (although not as many as you’d find at a summer matsuri) and entertainment of some sort (live music typically). Admission to this event is 600 yen (so bring yen with you) and the admission hours are between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. nightly. Please visit https://lantan.ryukyu for more information.

TEL: 098-958-1111
Yomitan-son Nakagami-gun, Okinawa, Japan 904-0323

January 1st – 3rd

Itoman City, Itoman Tourism Farm – 19th Annual Itoman Peaceful Illumination

For an admission fee of 500 yen, enjoy a beautiful festive Christmas lights display of thousands of lights sprawled across a farm (across the street from the Itoman Peace Memorial Park). The hours of admission for this event are 18:00 to 22:00 (with special extended hours, until 24:30, on December 31st only). This yearly event is not to be missed if you enjoy Christmas lights displays. There are usually food vendors so bring yen for food/drinks/admission. Please visit https://www.itoman-peaceful.jp/ for more information.

TEL: 098-997-2793

901 – 333 Okinawa Prefecture Itoman City Mizunenjin 1018 (opposite Peace Memorial Park)

January 1st – 6th

Nanjo City, Sasaki Okuku – Okoru Illumination

Looking for some holiday lights to brighten your holiday season? This residential district will be featuring a holiday lights display between the hours of 18:00 and 22:00 during the month of December and early January. For more information as it becomes available, please visit the Discovery Nanjo Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/discoverynanjo/

January 14th

Urasoe – Urasoe International Relations Association New Years Party 2018

Between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. ring in the new year with fun events like traditional new year mochi pounding! The fee for participation is 500 yen for adults (300 yen for kids) and you have to sign up by January 9th by emailing or calling their office (the attached link will refer you to their contact information and more details). https://www.facebook.com/events/753082941553149/?ti=as

安波茶2-3-5 浦添市ハーモニーセンター内, Urasoe-shi, Okinawa, Japan 901-2114

TEL: 81-98-879-3010

January 28th

Table Watch, Itoman – Miso Making Workshop

Interested in learning how to make your own miso? This workshop may be just what you’re looking for to learn a new skill in the new year. The workshop starts at 11 a.m. and goes through 1 p.m. In it, participants will make miso from scratch and will get to take home approximately 1 lb of miso to ferment at home for the remainder of the time (their Facebook event page says a couple of months). You have to bring a container with you to the event but everything else will be provided. Participation fees are $25/2500 yen per adult or $5/500 yen per child age 2-12. For more details about the event and its location/contact information please visit the following link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2076349679308196/?ti=as