Japan decides which spots are the best places to catch the final dawn of the Heisei Era.

There’s something healing about watching the first rays of light eke over the horizon on any early morning, and it takes on a special meaning when it’s the literal first sunrise of the year.

Symbolizing new chances, new starts, new opportunities, some people are desperate to make sure that the first sunrise they catch in 2019 is picture perfect; especially this year, which is the final year that Emperor Akihito will reign, and thus the end of the Heisei era.

An online survey was conducted from October 21 to October 31 regarding where people would like to watch the first sunrise of the year. 4,271 men and women were polled across all 47 prefectures, aged from teens to people in their sixties. So without further ado, here are Japan’s top picks of places for starting the year out right!

5. Katase Higashihama Beach — Kanagawa Prefecture
Sunrise starts at: Around 6:50 a.m.

Coastal Kanagawa is the prefecture just south of Tokyo, and it’s a great spot to visit for beaches, tourist phones, and even Pokémon parades at certain times of year.

When it comes to sunrises, the Katase Higashihama Beach offers a gorgeous shot of the sun rising over the surrounding Miura Peninsula. The nearby Enoshima island has its own shrine, meaning you have a great spot to make your first shrine visit of the year, too.

4. Chiba Port Tower — Chiba Prefecture
Sunrise starts at: Around 6:50 a.m.

You might have heard of Chiba Prefecture before — just outside of Tokyo, it’s home to Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea. Chiba also plays host to scenic beaches and great sightseeing spots, like the Chiba Port Tower.

While this shot of the sunrise being reflected in the Port Tower building’s windows is breathtaking enough, if you head to the observation deck of the building itself you can enjoy the sunrise in a stunning panoramic view!

3. Uppama Beach — Okinawa Prefecture
Sunrise starts at: Around 7:17 a.m.

Okinawa Prefecture is a popular tourist destination in Japan due to its tropical climates, gorgeous architecture, and strong traditions, which are very disparate from the other prefectures in mainland Japan.

Uppama Beach features brilliantly white sand, and is surrounded with lush nature. You can watch the sun float right up out of the horizon ahead of you at this beautiful spot, and there’s no shortage of other great photo opportunities while you’re in the area.

2. Miho no Matsubara — Shizuoka Prefecture
Sunrise starts at: Around 6:55 a.m.

Shizuoka Prefecture is famously bordered by that most iconic of mountains, Mt. Fuji (the mountain is on the border between Shizuoka and the neighboring Yamanashi Prefecture). Naturally, this means you can savor some Fuji-tastic sights while admiring the sunrise.

The best place to do so is the pine tree-lined area on the peninsula, Miho no Matsubara. The pine groves are protected as a World Heritage Site and the area is where the Noh play Hagoromo is set, so you can steep yourself in some theatrical culture as you wait for the sun to show up!

1. Moiwa Mountain in Sapporo — Hokkaido Prefecture
Sunrise starts at: Around 7:01 a.m.

Hokkaido Prefecture is mostly renowned for snow, snow and more snow, but the city of Sapporo takes it further than most.

Around 531 meters (1,742 feet) above sea level, from the peak of Moiwa Mountain you can see as much of Sapporo as your eyes can possibly take in — and even the rolling, mountainous landscape of Yubari beyond it. Stick around for a day or so and you can catch the nightscape too, which is considered one of the most stunning that Japan has to offer.

Whether you’re celebrating your New Year at one of these top-rated locations or outside of Japan, whether you’ll be clinking new Starbucks mugs at the top of Moiwa Mountain or just savoring a Coke with friends at home, all of us at SoraNews24 wish you a very Happy New Year and great tidings for 2019!

Source: Jalan News
Featured image: Twitter/@yskemoto