Happy birthday to our Emperor!
Today is the 83rd birthday of Emperor Akihito. As the custom goes, the Emperor appeared on the palace balcony in the morning of December 23 and gave us his address. More than 33,000 people visited the palace this morning, which was a record high throughout the Heisei Era.
If you want another chance to see the Emperor make a public appearance, you still can! The Emperor customarily gives an annual greeting on January 2. In fact, coupled with all the great things you can experience in Japan during the New Year's holiday, it's probably a good idea to fit this into your itinerary!
If you are planning to visit Japan in the coming week, we recommend spending the New Year's holiday in Tokyo first, as travel activity will increase dramatically outside of Tokyo, leading to extreme congestion. Typically, people would return to Tokyo around January 4, so that's your cue to leave and travel a longer distance to visit popular spots such as Kyoto or Nara.
Due to the aforementioned flow of tourists, it will also prove easier to find hotels if you follow this recommendation. Keep in mind that hotel rates may significantly increase during this peak season. After all, you will have to compete with domestic tourists for accommodation!
Have fun planning your trip, and Merry Christmas from iLoveJapanTours!