Despite having been living in Japan for over 5 years now, I haven't been to a larger temple on New Year's Eve, owing partly to having done the "western thing" for new year's (i.e., drink it up) and partly to laziness (after all, why would you want to spend new year's outside, freezing your bum?).
this year, however, i was happy to venture for a little while around asakusa's sensoji temple. as the temple was teeming with people tired or drunk or somewhere in between, it really was an overwhelming experience to navigate the crowds. everywhere, small yattai stalls were set up selling a variety of food and new year charms. the smells of soy sauce, sweets and other food cooking entwining with the spice of incense was something completely unique to me-- and not unpleasant.
i hope that you enjoy these photos of new year's in tokyo-- and i wish you a happy 2008!
- - in this photo, a man has a look at a variety of good luck charms for the new year