Hatsuhinode: Meet the First Sunrise of the Year in Japan

  • It’s finally November! And with only a month to spare we’ll soon be saying goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016! Whether to take off from their bucket list or to experience something new, I’m sure there are some people who are thinking of coming to Japan to celebrate the New Year.

    There are a number of ways to celebrate the coming year in Japan from shrine visits to your usual house parties, but the best way to welcome the new year in Japan is by watching the first sunrise of the year.

    Hatsuhinode (初日の出)

    Hatsuhinode is welcoming of the first sunrise of the year. The usual locations to join this remarkable tradition include the coastal areas, beaches, hilltops or mountains and you can simply wait for the sun to rise in any open area. Hatsuhinode is a beautiful sight to behold and it’s no wonder some Japanese and even foreigners are putting the effort to wake up early and prepare themselves.

    But for the Hatsuhinode, there is one location that symbolizes more than just coming of the new year.

    Mount Fuji (富士山)


    Mount Fuji is famously known for being the tallest mountain in Japan and it is also one of the country’s representations. But in the new year, Mount Fuji becomes a famous spot for viewing the first sunrise of the year. People can view the beautiful Hatsuhinode from near the mountain, but there are also people who would put in the extra effort of climbing the mountain the day before to wait and see the best view from the top.

    Goraiko (ご来光)


    Another beautiful sight to see from a top of Mount Fuji is called Goraiko. Goraiko is the sunrise which can be seen from the mountain top, in this article’s case, Mount Fuji’s top. The beauty of Goraiko is seen when the sunrise aligns with the horizon, much like when the sun rises from the coastal areas, but floating above the clouds instead.

    Celebrating the new year is done in a different way for each person, even in Japan. But for those who want to open the year and appreciate the blessings of the past year, experiencing Japanese Hatsuhinode is a good way to start the new year’s chapter!

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