The incident occurred on the well-known Takeshita Street in the shopping and tourist district of Harajuku, which runs parallel to the famous Meiji shrine.
The iconic street is known worldwide as a hub of Japanese youth culture and fashion, and the area famous for its “Harajuku girls,” who dress in outlandish, striking costumes.
The road was closed to facilitate access to the shrine, which is a popular destination for people on New Year’s Eve.
The car barreled down the narrow street, which was packed with pedestrians, slamming into a number of them, police said.
Tokyo Metropolitan Police told CNN that they have opened an investigation into the incident, which occurred at around 10 minutes past midnight on January 1st. One person, a 21-year-old man, has been detained on suspicion of attempted murder, according to police.
The injured ranged in age from teenagers to those in their 50s. One male university student remains in critical condition.
The suspect, named as Kazuhiro Kusakabe, initially told police that he had conducted a terrorist act, later saying he had deliberately driven the car down the narrow street to protest his opposition to the death penalty, telling police he “would not make any excuse” for his actions.