new year

Hatsumode: The First Shrine Visit of the New Year

Japanese New Year holidays usually start from December 29 and go until January 3, but depending on the year and one’s job it can start as early ad December 27th and go until January 8th. During this time, people are busy cleaning their houses in the osoji ritual before New Year, making or buying osechi…

How to Visit a Japanese Shrine – A Guide to Shrine Basics

Shrines and temples are beautiful touristy locations, but being sacred places of worship they are much more than a simple photo spot. Tourists are often scared not to offend the locals, so it’s best to learn the basic rules. Let’s take a look at some of the common items you will see upon your visit…

O-souji: The Big Pre-New Year Cleaning Ritual in Japan

jp.fotolia.com/ While it is the time of the year for preparing Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties in many countries, in Japan things are a little different. There is some version of Christmas social gatherings, while for New Year enjoy a few quiet days together with their families. There are many preparations, decorations and ritual,…

Hatsuyume and What Does it Mean: Sweet Dreams the New Year

Thereare a lot of firsts that are important to Japanese people in the new year – the first visit to a shrine, the first sunrise, and even the first dream! Hatsuyume (初夢) literally means the first dream of the New Year. It is traditionally believed it foretells the kind of year and luck you will…
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The Game Sugoroku: New Year’s Japanese Board Games

Sugoroku is a Japanese board game which has become a tradition for kids to play during the New Year’s Day. Usually children’s magazines would include additions to the game in their January issues. The history of Sugoroku can be traced back to the 12th century. In the 17th century, e-sugoroku (“e” meaning picture) which is…
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Feeling Lucky? Don`t miss these 5 New Year “Lucky Bags” in Japan This 2019

If you have been to Japan during the oshogatsu (お正月) i.e. Japanese New Year before, you probably have seen many people queuing outside department stores and shops to buy fukubukuros (福袋) i.e. fortune bags. If you have not witnessed this phenomenon personally, you might have seen footage of the frenzy caused by eager shoppers who…
temple

Classic shrines of Chiba – a glimpse of tradition before you fly out of Narita.

When you say the word “Chiba” or “Narita” to most foreigners, images of Japan’s largest international airport comes immediately to mind, along with that mad rush foreigners make to catch their plane. Yet, if you say Narita or Chiba to most Japanese, you might hear two diverse descriptions – the first, of course is the…