Japanese New Year’s Day ~our New Year’s traditions~

This year will end soon, and New Year will come. Do you know there is a deep meaning that had been conveyed from old days in our New Year’s day?Japanese New Year is also an event to realize the important existence of Toshigami (Shinto God). Now, let me show you Japanese New Year’s tradition. Let’s check it out !

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Preparing for New Year’s day

Refer to this site:http://blog.livedoor.jp/gardendesigner/archives/52357747.html

Toshigami, the ancestor of the house, comes down on New Year’s Day. We should arrange our house to a pure place suitable for the New Year so that we won’t be rude to God.



Refer to this site:http://insidelocaljapan.jp/ja/%E5%A4%A7%E6%8E%83%E9%99%A4%E3%82%92%E3%81%99%E3%82%8B%E7%90%86%E7%94%B1/

The cleaning before New Year’s Day also has a meaning of exorcism. We ‘d like to have a pleasant New Year.

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Write New Year cards

Refer to this site:http://f.hatena.ne.jp/v-polyp/20050129171556

We Japanese write New Year cards to our intimate friends, acquaintances, and people who are helpful to us for the New Year’s greetings. We should write until Dec 25 so that New Year cards will arrive on New Year’s Day.


Prepare the New Year decorations

Refer to this site:http://recrea.jp/season/archives/1597

We have to prepare auspicious decorations such as Kadomatsu, decoration of straw rope, Kagamimochi from the end of the year and that has been inherited since ancient times.


Eat Toshikoshi Soba

Refer to this site:https://www.brain-solution.net/blog/gourmet/2013-soba/

We eat soba on New Year’s Eve so that we will be able to cut off disasters of the year. It is called “ Toshikoshi Soba “. It is said to be the best timing to eat listening to Bells on the night of New Year’s Eve.


Listen to Bells on New Year’s Eve

Refer to this site:http://blog.goo.ne.jp/go-uehai/e/0d844cff92f2a4e7764ac7eb0b2b2c96

Listening to Bells on New Year’s Eve is one of the ways to see the old year out. It’s also good to hear on TV. The number of times to strike bells is 108. It is said that this is the number of our earthly desires.


What we do in New Year’s day

Refer to this site:http://kenkoukazoku.info/%E6%AD%A3%E6%9C%88%E9%A3%BE%E3%82%8A%E3%81%AF%E7%A5%9E%E7%A4%BE%E3%81%A7%E5%87%A6%E5%88%86%E3%81%97%E3%82%88%E3%81%86%EF%BC%81%E6%8D%A8%E3%81%A6%E6%96%B9%E3%82%92%E9%96%93%E9%81%95%E3%81%88%E3%82%8B/

New Year’s Day is the day that the God of New Year, Toshigami, comes down from old days. In order to welcome Toshigami, we have some important things to do.


New Year’s Greetings

Refer to this site:http://coneru-web.com/korean-happy-new-year/

We say “ Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu. Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu “ when the new year begins. That’s the way of New Year’s greetings.


Eat New Year dishes (Osechi ryori)

Refer to this site:http://www.gurum.biz/articles/19201.html

New Year dishes are the ones to be served to Toshigami, and are also the lucky ones on which we wish the family’s happiness.


Drink Toso

Refer to this site:http://www.webdice.jp/event/detail/8557/

Toso is a medical liquor on which we wish healthy longevity of the year on New Year’s Day. It has a meaning of “ slaughtering evil spirits and reviving the dead “, it seems to be awesome.


Eat zouni

Refer to this site:http://www.i-nekko.jp/hibinotayori/2015-121800.html

We eat zouni on New Year’s Day in order to get the benefit of the rice cake that was served to Toshigami. The kind of zouni differs from the region. You will enjoy many varieties of zouni depending on each areas.


Give an Otoshidama (New Year’s allowance)

Refer to this site:http://mamasup.me/articles/30096

Otoshidama is a money of celebration on New Year’s Day. It is said that Otoshidama was originally not “ money “ but “ rice cake “. It’s because Kagami mochi was thought to be an object of worship, and to be a lucky goods.



Refer to this site:http://ima-colle.jp/mypages/509/11518

Hatsumoude is the first event to worship shrines and temples since the opening of the year. We give thanks to God or pray for the new year ‘s safety and peace.


Dispose the New Year’s decorations

Refer to this site:http://www.i-nekko.jp/hibinotayori/2016-011400.html

It is generally on Jan 7 that the New Year’s decorations are cleaned up. It’s on the same day as Nanakusagayu. There is a custom called “ dondo-yaki “ that we bring the removed New Year decorations to the shrine for burning. I think it best to burn them with clean fire because they play an important role.


Kagamibiraki (cut the New Year rice cake)

Refer to this site:http://nokkun.com/season_event_001/

The New Year’s decoration, Kagamimochi is prepared to welcome Toshigami, and we remove and strike it with a mallet to eat. We call it “ Kagamibiraki “. Kagamibiraki is generally held on Jan 11, though there are differences depending on the area.



Refer to this site:http://mirukiku.net/?search=%C0%B5%B7%EE%BE%FE%A4%EA

What do you feel about Japanese way of celebrating New Year? Please enjoy Japanese New Year if you come to Japan !

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