TOKYO (TR) – Some 500,000 visitors descended on a popular shopping street in the Ueno district on Saturday to stock up on food for New Year’s celebrations, TBS News reports (Dec. 31).
Shopkeepers yelled “End-of-year-sale! Come get your 13,000-yen big toro [fatty tuna belly] for only 1,000 yen right now!” as throngs of visitors eyed reams of tuna, crab and other seafood lined along the Ameyoko Shotengai street.
Buoyed by sunny weather, visitors at the market were expected to climb past 500,000 by 3 p.m.
A boy said they were “happy because we woke up early at 5 a.m., and the 13,000-yen tuna is 1,000 yen.”
“This was the best year ever,” the boy told TBS News.
Elsewhere in the capital, over 100 diners were lined up by 10 a.m. in front of soba noodle restaurant Kanda Matsuya in the Kanda district to eat toshikoshi soba, or year-passing noodles, which are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve, Nippon News Network reports (Dec. 31).
The shop prepared 8,000 meals for Friday, some eight times more than the usual amount.
3 million visitors at Kawasaki temple
Meanwhile in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, craftsmen at the Kawasaki Daishi Buddhist temple were making preparations to welcome some 3 million visitors over the sangainichi period, meaning the first three days of the New Year from Jan. 1 to Jan. 3, TV Asahi reports (Dec. 31).
Four craftsmen draped across the main gates of the temple a 21-meter-long shimenawa twist of rice-straw rope, which is used to mark sacred spaces and ward off evil spirits, and hung a two-meter-tall, 50-kilogram decorative ball.