Shunsetsu, or Lunar New Year is found in Chinatowns in Japan

As Setsubun is a separation between winter and spring in agricultural calendar, a New Year Day comes soon after Setsubun, it is today February 4th this year. We call it Shunsetsu, literally means spring season, or Lunar New Year in English. In other words, it is also called Chinese New Year because it is the most important event for Chinese people, while for modern Japanese it does not have special meaning as January 1st is a New Year’s Day.


Therefore, we cannot find any special events in Tokyo for Lunar New Year. If you like to feel new year’s happy atmosphere, we recommend you visit Chinatowns in Japan. Famous ones are in Yokohama, Kobe, and Nagasaki. They are among first 5 ports newly opened to foreign countries at the end of Edo era, and have developed to become the 3 largest Chinatowns in Japan since then.


At a Lunar New Year, they hang red and yellow lanterns here and there, sometimes over the river to celebrate the happiness and good fortune of the people in a new year. You may hear firecrackers exploding, and you may see papier-mache dragons marching in the town. It is fun to go to a Chinatown at New Year season!

Lanterns over river in Nagasaki chinatown

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© 2018 by Japan Culture Guide Ken Oka

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