With the end of the year drawing closer, the pressure is on to figure out how to greet the Year of the Boar. If the dwindling number of viewers staying in to watch NHK's annual music showcase "Kohaku Uta Gassen" is any indication, more and more people in the Kanto region are choosing to head out for less traditional celebrations. There are plenty of things going on to kiss 2018 goodbye and start 2019 off right, but be sure to make plans now because many of these events tend to sell out quickly.


A good soundtrack can be key to a proper New Year's celebration and there are more than enough options in and around Tokyo to satisfy a variety of musical tastes. Countdown Japan is a music festival that will take place at the sprawling Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba Prefecture, kicking things off on Dec. 28 and continuing until the early hours of the new year. Around 180 acts will play over the course of four days, with Sambomaster, Polkadot Stingray, Good Morning America, Su-xing-cyu and DJ Dainoji scheduled to start their sets before midnight on Dec. 31.