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Geikosai New Year’s Festival Held at the Yakuoin Temple

Geikosai New Year’s Festival

Celebrate the arrival of the new year with traditional performances and vibrant festivities at the Geikosai New Year’s Festival, among the Tokyo Events in January.

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Thousands of people make a special journey each New Year to participate in the annual festivities at Yakuoin Temple located atop Mt Takao. This revered celebration, known as Geikosai, is a time-old tradition dating back centuries and is one of the three festivals held yearly at the temple.

Fire Rituals Usher in the New Year

From midnight until 5 pm on New Year’s Day, the head priest of Yakuoin Temple carries out multiple goma fire rituals. These rituals serve as a sacred cleansing and purifying ceremony to welcome the prosperous new year at the foot of the statue of Izuna Daigongen—prominently displayed in the main hall.

These purifying fires offer spiritual safeguarding for the numerous worshipers who undertake their journey in the chill and darkness to receive their commencement blessing of the year at this respected temple. For these devout visitors, Mt Takao cable car operates throughout New Year’s night, stopping only at 6.30 pm on January 1st to cater to all arrivals.

Welcoming Ceremony – Geikosai

Geikosai is an integral part of Japanese New Year celebrations. It stands to observe the first sunrise of the year, marking it as an event full of religious fervor and national emotions. Yakuo Temple holds a grand entry for this first light with the ceremonies of Geikosai.

The priests chant holy sutras and tough conch shells, which echo through the quiet mountainous surroundings bidding welcome to dawn, generally around 6:48 am on Mt Takao. Weather permitting, viewers can take pleasure in their first glance at Mt Fuji in all its glory for unveiling another year.

Navigating Your Way Through

Devotees planning their pilgrimage and tourist curious about experiencing Japanese culture should note that reaching Yakuoin involves traveling largely on foot: neither roads nor public transport leads directly into Yakuoin, rendering it disconnected from most conventional travel methods.

By Car

For those driving, the Takaosan exit on the Ken-o expressway guides you closest to your destination. You can find a parking spot near Takaosanguchi station, situated at the foot of Mt Takao – albeit with some waiting duration during peak hours.

By Public Transport

If public transit aligns better with your plans, Keio Takao Line’s Takaosanguchi leaves you approximately a 10-minute distance away from cable car service, along with several hiking trail entry points leading to your destination. Despite regular train service being infrequent, additional trains operate around New Year’s Eve and Day for visitors’ convenience.

The festival provides a profound cultural immersion into Japanese traditions while offering an opportunity to rejoice amidst nature’s beauty by watching sunrise ignite on Mt Takao summit – Thus making this event an irreplaceable starting point for any grand plans anyone has for welcoming a new year!

Experience the captivating beauty of the Geikosai New Year’s Festival, where the festive atmosphere is enhanced by the breathtaking Yomiuriland Jewellumination, creating a magical celebration to welcome the New Year.

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