Off to Japan for the New Year’s Sunrise We Go!

Off to Japan for the New Year’s Sunrise We Go!
The first sunrise of the New Year on January 1 is called “hatsuhinode.” In Japan, many people set out the day before to see hatsuhinode at a place with a spectacular view. Although there are lots of different places to see the sunrise, like mountains, hills, and coastal regions, if you’re going to make plans for hatsuhinode we recommend heading somewhere with exceptional scenery. Let’s look at our selection of five great places to see the first sunrise of the year.

Irago Misaki Cape(Aichi)

Our first selection is Aichi Prefecture’s Cape Irago. The beautiful white sand beach here, called Koijigahama, is a popular spot that stretches over a kilometer of coast. Perfect as a place for marriage proposals, together with the Cape Irago Lighthouse the area is considered “sacred ground for sweethearts”.
Public transit won’t be operating in time for you to make it to the cape for hatsuhinode. There are also traffic restrictions in place, so we recommend heading out by car with plenty of time to spare. Standing with the one you love and watching the first sunrise of the New Year appear is sure to make for the start of a romantic year.

Cape Chikyu(Hokkaido)

Next, let’s look at Cape Chikyu in Hokkaido. Named for how well you can see the curve of the Earth (“chikyu”) from here, this cape is hugely popular for its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
Crowds of people visit annually on January 1 for hatsuhinode. You’ll be left breathless by the beauty of the rising sun as it peeks above the expansive horizon and sets the water alight with its rays.

The Amaharashi Coast(Toyama)

The third spot we’d like to introduce is the Amaharashi Coast in Toyama Prefecture. Looking across Toyama Bay to the grand heights of the Tateyama Mountain Range, it’s said that this is one of only three places in the world where you can gaze up from the seaside at a mountain range taller than 3,000 meters.
When the first sun of the New Year emerges from behind the mountains, it envelops the peaks and the coast in a dazzling light, creating a deeply mystical sight. Hatsuhinode here is in a class of its own, the very pinnacle of scenic beauty.

Public transit doesn’t run early enough for you to catch the New Year sunrise, so we recommend going by car.

Mount Tsukuba(Ibaraki)

Next is Mount Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture. The fame of this mountain can be seen in the old saying, “Fuji in the west, Tsukuba in the east.”
People say that Mount Tsukuba is the first place in Kanto (Eastern Japan) to see the New Year’s sunrise. One of the location’s charms is that public transit here runs in the early morning and a cable car and ropeway run up the mountain itself. The glimmering hatsuhinode sky is sure to leave you breathless!
Cable car: from 4:30 on January 1
Ropeway: from 5:00 on January 1

Mount Hakodate(Hokkaido)

Topping off our list is another entry from Hokkaido: Mount Hakodate. The nightscape seen from the observatory atop Mount Hakodate is famous for being one of the three most beautiful in the world. That said, the view of daybreak from the mountaintop is popular enough to contend with the scenery at night.
There is nothing in the world that compares to the "morning nightscape" seen in the moment before daybreak, when the city is bathed in both darkness and light. Here at Mount Hakodate you can begin the year anew with a sight so spectacular it will leave you speechless.

So, what do you think of the beautiful New Year sunrises of Japan? Hatsuhinode only comes once a year, and welcoming the new year together with some gorgeous scenery is sure to be the start of a truly fabulous year. Be sure to visit Japan and try out hatsuhinode for yourself!

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