Japan Festivals for December and January.
Have you tried Mochi? Pounded Rice?
There would be opportunities to join a community Mochi-zuki making event at the annual year-end/year-beginning season (in Japanese it is called Nen-matsu, Nen-sho). Please ask the hotel concierge or someone who speaks English where your City office is. Then, you can go over to the City office and inquire about Mochi-zuki Taikai (Mochi-zuki events) happening around that time. There will be community led events and you can probably go and watch and maybe even give it a try. After pounding the mochi, everybody eats a little bit of the warm mochi in a sweet bean soup. It is such a nice way to warm up on a cold Japan day. Here is a quick video that shows how to do it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghgiucN0SdE
Former Deep Japan Writer