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How to Celebrate Japanese New Year with Sake and Great Japanese Food images

How to Celebrate Japanese New Year with Sake and Great Japanese Food

You might not know how much pomp and circumstance takes place in a Japanese home on New Year’s morning. Mom is bustling around the kitchen putting final touches to her O-sechi Ryori or special (very special) New Year’s Day (Oshogatsu) feast of sweet black beans, lovely O-zoni soup, Kamaboko, se…(753 words)

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New Year's like a true local images

New Year's like a true local

If you want to have a relaxing winter, I recommend staying at a ryokan with a “kotatsu.” Kotatsu are tables with a futon and a heater that keep your feet (and therefore your body) warm during the cold winter months. Families often stay under this and eat mikan (a type of tangerine sold during the w…(108 words)

RieS image

RieS

A fantastic New Year's filled with classical music! images

A fantastic New Year's filled with classical music!

This New Year's, I did something other than watching the music program "Kouhaku Utagassen" or go to Minatomirai to watch the clock tick to 0:00 of January 1st. I went to Minato Mirai Hall to watch the Sylvester Concert, which is a classical concert with music ranging from baroque to modern. I espec…(111 words)

RieS image

RieS

Sunrise on the New Year's Morning images

Sunrise on the New Year's Morning

You will only get one chance a year at this, but if you happen to be in Japan during the new year, you can see literally the first sunrise on earth. Many people will either stay up all night or wake up especially early to see the first sun in "the land of the rising sun" no less.However, even i…(148 words)

KurtisW image

KurtisW

First Visit for the New Year - Hatsumode images

First Visit for the New Year - Hatsumode

Many Japanese people visit shrines and temples during the first days of the year. It is a way to start into the new year. The new year starts at midnight, so people line up already in the evening of December 31. At the big popular places like Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa or Meijijingu in Harajuku it …(161 words)

David image

David

New Year's Gift Giving images

New Year's Gift Giving

The New Year's season is a time for visiting family and friends in Japan, as it is in many of our home countries too. If visiting family members with small children, the children will often be given gifts of money (called "Otoshi-dama"). Otherwise, a nice box of sweets or rice crackers ("Osenbei")…(158 words)

Andrea Miyata image

Andrea Miyata

Making Mochi by Hand for New Years images

Making Mochi by Hand for New Years

My family always makes handmade mochi at the end of the year. It turns in to party that starts at about 6:00am when we start to steam the mochi-rice. My father-in-law always hands me a beer and all the men stand outside waiting for the rice to be ready for a pounding. My wife and mother-in-law wise…(383 words)

Jeff Aasgaard image

Jeff Aasgaard

New Years images

New Years

New Years is a family event so there are not many tours or much excitement surrounding the new year like there is in the US. My family makes mochi and then we head to Kiyoshikojin Temple (http://www.kiyoshikojin.or.jp/en/) for hatsumode (first temple visit of the year) early in the morning. Som…(103 words)

Jeff Aasgaard image

Jeff Aasgaard

How Japanese spend New Year's Day lately.... images

How Japanese spend New Year's Day lately....

Well, you may be a bit disappointed. But these days, more and more family stay away from home for the New Year's days. As you may know, New Year's Days is much more important than Christmas (or Hanuka or whatever you call "happy holiday") holiday season. Everybody takes at least these three-day …(397 words)

KIH image

KIH

How to enjoy New Years in Japan. images

How to enjoy New Years in Japan.

This is an interesting subject, which is actually difficult to answer as there are many ways to enjoy New Year's in Japan. I'll try to tackle this one and give you a few options.Option one: New Years Eve Party!! During this time of the year, there are parties and events everywhere (Roppongi, Gi…(328 words)

DjMarvin image

DjMarvin

Japan has most national holidays in number around the world! images

Japan has most national holidays in number around the world!

Here are the list of national holidays in Japan - 2013 version. Wow - We have 16 holidays in total, which is the biggest in number around the world!January 1 - New Year's DayJanuary 14 - Coming‐of‐Age DayFebruary 11 - National Foundation DayMarch 20 - Vernal Equinox HolidayApril 29 …(145 words)

EmiOnishi image

EmiOnishi

Three Sacred Treasures and Imperial Palace images

Three Sacred Treasures and Imperial Palace

The three treasures: mirror, sword, and jewels are believed to be passed down in the Imperial Family through generations. It is said that no one, even including the Emperor himself, has seen the objects. The treasures are considered not only as tangible entities but also as Japanese spirits: honest…(149 words)

Hatha Yoga Lover image

Hatha Yoga Lover

Slapstick all the way images

Slapstick all the way

Japanese comedy is very heavily dependent on slapstick humor. One perfect example of this is the special new year's program shown every year in a unique episode.It's called "gaki tsukai ara-hen de", and it basically plays on the Japanese typical game called "batsu-game" (batsu is just the vocaliz…(141 words)

KurtisW image

KurtisW

Where can I participate in a mochi-making "Mochi-tsuki"event? images

Where can I participate in a mochi-making "Mochi-tsuki"event?

Mochi-tsuki event takes place when people celebrate something and it’s always a happy event. As it is often held at local shopping center events or festivals, you might want to check out such local information first. I also know some hotels hold mocha-tsuki event as a part of their New Year’s even…(157 words)

totowatanabe image

totowatanabe

Kagami biraki: The opening of New Year's rice cakes images

Kagami biraki: The opening of New Year's rice cakes

Kagami biraki is the practice of eating the kagamimochi (round mirror-shaped rice cakes) that were offered to the gods. It is supposed to bring a sense of closure to Osyogatsu (New Year’s Holidays). Kagami biraki is to get power from the year gods to live happily for one year. For Kagami biraki, pe…(92 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

Bonenkai season images

Bonenkai season

Well that time of the year has rolled around again - Bonenkai season. Literally this translates to Forget the Year party, and is generally held among groups of co-workers or friends. The purpose of the party is to give completion to the year by forgetting the ups and downs of the past year, and als…(167 words)

Adstev73 image

Adstev73

Traditional fire festival at Shonan beach, Oiso SAGICHO. images

Traditional fire festival at Shonan beach, Oiso SAGICHO.

Oiso SAGICHO is the last event of NEW YEAR celebration in SEISHO Area (western district of Shonan, Kanagawa Pref.). Originally, local fishermen operated this event and it has been held for 400 years over. SAGICHO in Oiso is one of the Significant Intangible Folk-Cultural Asset. Because Oiso is the …(360 words)

Kanagawa P.G.T.D. image

Kanagawa P.G.T.D.

Japan Festivals for December and January. images

Japan Festivals for December and January.

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 i…(130 words)

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Classical music at Minato Mirai Hall images

Classical music at Minato Mirai Hall

As a classical-music lover, I love attending orchestral performances and piano concerts. The Minato Mirai Hall is a great place to watch performances of both amateur and professional performances by famous musicians from Japan and around the world. The Minato Mirai Hall is in Queens Square, the mal…(143 words)

RieS image

RieS

Make Mochi! A Fun New Years Family Event in Japan images

Make Mochi! A Fun New Years Family Event in Japan

In my opinion, there is nothing better to do in Japan during winter than participate in "mochi-tsuki" and eat fresh and delicious mochi. Mochi-tsuki is a Japanese New Year's tradition and events will be held around the first of January. Usually "Mochi-tsuki" is hosted by the neighbourhood communit…(123 words)

GenS image

GenS

Claps and bows in silence images

Claps and bows in silence

Every New Year's holiday, I go to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in Kamakura. There, you first throw money, bow twice, clap your hands twice, pray and then bow once (you can follow this process at any shrine). It may sound like a complicated process, but all you have to do is follow the person before you (t…(160 words)

RieS image

RieS

Otoshidama - money gift to children images

Otoshidama - money gift to children

In Japan, adults are supposed to give money gift to their children or grandchildren including relatives'children or sometimes friend's children on New Year's Day. This custom is known as 'otoshidama.' Money is handed out in small,beautifully decorated envelopes called 'pochibukuro'. These can be b…(120 words)

EmiOnishi image

EmiOnishi

Much Mochi images

Much Mochi

Mochi - rice cakes - can be eaten anytime of the year, but many people like to enjoy toasted mochi during the colder months. Wrap a strip of nori (pressed seaweed) around the mochi, bruch a bit of soy sauce on it, and pop it in the over toaster (do NOT use a western style toaster - you'll ruin it)…(339 words)

Joe Peters image

Joe Peters

People love to go to Shrines and Temples images

People love to go to Shrines and Temples

One of the most popular is the Ise Shrine.If you ever get a chance to go to Mie-ken I strongly recommend it.In New Year Season I'd suggest to take public transport or if you go by car you should park your car one exit before the actual exit due to heavy traffic.They offer buses to take you …(229 words)

Yuuki I image

Yuuki I

Okagemairi in Japan 2014- Special Visit to Ise Jingu, the Grand Shrine images

Okagemairi in Japan 2014- Special Visit to Ise Jingu, the Grand Shrine

Ise Jingu, the Grand Shrine's main pavilions were newly rebuilt and its residing deities were transferred to the new shrines, which is called Sengu. The ceremony is held every 20 years in order to keep the spirit of "Tokowaka" which means "forever young or everlasting purity" and it has been done f…(124 words)

Hatha Yoga Lover image

Hatha Yoga Lover

Karuta ! images

Karuta !

Karuta is Japanese traditional playing cards and people enjoy Karuta during New Year’s holidays. The game uses two types of cards – Yomifuda and Efuda. When the reader reads out a poem on the yomifuda, players quickly search for matching efuda. Usually there is one reader and Karuta is played by mo…(79 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

Kirin Yokohama Beer Village images

Kirin Yokohama Beer Village

Yokohama is renowned as the home of the Japanese beer industry. You can learn - and taste - all about it at the Kirin Yokohama Beer Village. The Kirin Brewery Company, one of Japan's big four beer breweries, was founded in Yokohama in 1907.Located in North Yokohama near Shinkoyasu Station (JR K…(201 words)

Former Deep Japan Writer image

Former Deep Japan Writer

Japanese Royalty and Imperial Palace images

Japanese Royalty and Imperial Palace

When you think of Japan, many things might come to mind like bright glimmering streets full of light up signs and billboards, mystic temples, busy street crossings, or even delicious sushi fresh from the source. Often over looked by outsiders, is the fact that like in many western nations who have …(257 words)

Alex image

Alex

Ginza Aster O-Sechi images

Ginza Aster O-Sechi

I know its probably kind of a bit too soon in the year to be thinking about this but the other day, when I went to Ginza Aster for lunch, I got talking to the staff and the subject of Sechi (new year’s food) came up. It turns out that Ginza Aster produce really great (I mean awesome!) sechi every y…(269 words)

Adstev73 image

Adstev73

Experiencing a Japanese-style New Year Season images

Experiencing a Japanese-style New Year Season

New Year is a big event in Japan when people congratulate the peaceful ending of the previous year and the coming of the new year. Many families visit their relatives and eat "osechi", a special meal. You can make your own, or order it at various department stores. Sending out warm new year messag…(96 words)

Rena image

Rena

Usually on New Year's Day, people hold mochi-tsuki events near the shrines or governmental facilities. images

Usually on New Year's Day, people hold mochi-tsuki events near the shrines or governmental facilities.

You can participate in this event. Entry fee money is 500 yen. It is 10 minutes' walk from Shibuya Station.①KODOMONOSHIROhttp://www.kodomono-shiro.jpMAPhttp://map.livedoor.com/map/?lat=35.6590833333333&lng=139.710611111111&name=&zoom=(33 words)

Spaceman image

Spaceman

Japanese Rituals - New Year and Hatsumode images

Japanese Rituals - New Year and Hatsumode

Not sure on the exact spelling of "Hatsumode" but it is the first trip to the temple to pray? for the new year...not all Japanese are constant/weekly church/temple visitors but come new year - watch out for the crowds at the temples - especially on the 1st of Jan. I think every Japanese person vi…(83 words)

Mick Lay image

Mick Lay

Shiba Koen - Zojoji images

Shiba Koen - Zojoji

Zojoji Temple in Shiba Koen has a countdown event we have been going to for close to 20 years. If you get there about 8 p.m. you can get a ticket for an environmentally friendly ballon. Thousands of balloons are released by well wishers to welcome in the New Year after the countdown. The back dr…(70 words)

Ross image

Ross