The first sunrise is an important aspect of New Year's celebrations in Japan. Many plan their first visit to the temple or shrine in conjunction with witnessing that first sunrise of the year. Hence, as I mentioned in a previous article, Takao-san is a popular place to visit from the early hours of New Year's day. Not only can you say your first prayers in an ancient temple, you can also be one of the first to see the sunrise AND catch the first glimpse of Mt Fuji for the New Year. The sunrise can be witnessed from Mt Takao, and Mt Mitake too, at about 6.48am on New Year's Day 2016.
However, that is not the earliest you can see the sun rise for the very first time in Japan in 2016. Choshi in Chiba owns that honour. You can see the sunrise at the Eastern most point of the Kanto area at about 6.46am. The Choshi tourist association recommends Inubosaki, along the coast, as a viewing point. It is a free public area and there is free parking. You can also access this area from public transport as it is only a 7 minute walk from Inubosaki train station. Wrap up well though, it will be cold.
For Tokyo and mainland Kanto, the first sunrise of 2016 is generally expected to be visible at about 6.50am, weather permitting of course. It is quite difficult to see the rising sun in many parts of Tokyo, but there are some places that enjoy a view. How about from 150 metres up? Tokyo Tower opens it doors at 6am on New Year's day. They do charge for the pleasure and have a restriction on the number of people they are letting up the tower, so do arrive early if you want to be one of them. Rainbow promenade also has a limit on numbers, but it is free in. The Telecom Centre, one of Tokyo's lesser known observation areas, also has a view for 500 yen per person. If you happen to be in Haneda airport at 6.50 in the morning, you can see the sunrise from the domestic terminal 2 observation decks.
I will watch from a river embankment near my house in rural Saitama. We normally have a great view on a sunny day, so here's hoping... I wish you many beautiful sunrises in 2016. HAPPY NEW YEAR.
"Mount Fuji from Mount Ogochi 2000-10-22" by Alpsdake - 投稿者自身による作品. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mount_Fuji_from_Mount_Ogochi_2000-10-22.jpg#/media/File:Mount_Fuji_from_Mount_Ogochi_2000-10-22.jpg