Ogasawara Islands’ New Year Countdown Party
The winter season has been both a blessing and a curse for people all over the world but in Ogasawara, the atoll’s largest double celebration of the year will leave you with an awesome feeling of hope. Yep, you read that right. Ogasawara doesn’t only cap the year off with an explosive New Year countdown party, they also welcome the year by officially opening their beaches to local and foreign tourists alike!
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Where it Happens
The new year countdown slash beach opening ceremony takes place in Chichijima Island Beach in Ogasawara.
Chichijima Island, formerly known as Peel Island is Ogasawara’s largest island located 1000 km away from Tokyo. It boasts a lush subtropical forest, steep rock cliffs, and white beaches. A remote paradise within the Land of the Rising Sun.
It’s the perfect go-to destination for anyone looking to relax and get some vitamin sea. Not to mention, its unique food culture and rich biodiversity.
What to Expect
A Myriad of Fun Activities
As the new year rolls in, the island celebrates the earliest beach opening ceremony across Japan. As the countdown begins around 11 p.m., you’ll hear various Taiko drum tunes played by locals.
The countdown is capped off with a beautiful fireworks display.
You’ll also get to witness special dance competitions showcasing both traditional and modern talents.
Now, arm wrestling isn’t a popular sport but the island hosts an arm wresting competition to celebrate the new year while it opens it arms to beach lovers worldwide. You might also enjoy their customary rice cake-throwing ritual.
The next day, you can choose to either watch or participate in the “first swim of the year” ceremony. And get a firsthand experience of releasing baby sea turtles by sunrise.
Being a subtropical island, you can expect a lot of fresh, unprocessed grub & drinks in Chichijima Island.
An island seafood special, shima-zushi is a simple dish that’s packed with flavor. It’s served everywhere from sushi shops to bento bars within the island.
If you’re a fan of liquor, you have to taste Ogasawara’s passion liquor. Passion fruits grow naturally in different areas within the island so aside from consuming it as it is, locals turn these delicious fruits into rum and add them to flavorful cocktails for that extra kick. You can also find garden fresh citrus fruits like oranges, buntans, and lemons.
You can reach Ogasawara by riding a ferry boat from Takeshiba Passenger Ship Terminal in Tokyo. Travel time would be between 24-25.5 hours but the soothing ambience of the island and the uber friendly locals make up for the tiring ride.
Chichijima 父島西町 小笠原村 東京都 100-2101 Japan