new year

Wagashi Calendar: Hanabiramochi in January

The beginning of a new year brings lots of promise and hope to all as we start afresh with a clean slate. In the old Japanese calendar called kyuureki, January used to be called Mutsuki (睦月). Other than this term, January was also known by other names such as Mototsutsuki which means “first month of…

Did You Miss New Year in Japan? A Guide to Spending Your Next New Year in Nara

2016 is already here, and yet it’s never too late to take a look at the Japanese way of spending the night between years, and the first day of the new year. And what better place to explore the oshougatsu (お正月) practices, than the old capital, Nara. If you’re looking to spend the New Year…

Kagami Biraki: A Traditional Ceremony to Open Sake Barrels

Have you heard of a Japanese traditional ceremony known as kagami biraki? Kagami means “mirror” while biraki means “to open” so kagami biraki means “opening the mirror”. How does one open a mirror exactly? Actually, the Japanese people do not open mirrors during this ceremony. There are two versions of kagami biraki – one where…

Dondo Yaki Bonfire Event to Bring Success and Good Health into the New Year!

During the New Year in Japan, you’ll notice that a large number of people purchased ornaments for their homes. However, now that the New Year celebrations are over, you may be wondering what the Japanese will be doing with all the beautiful ornaments that were used? Decorations   Kadomatsu, Shimekazari and Kagami mochi are the…

The Year of the Monkey Has Arrived! What Does It Mean for You?

2016 is already here, and for most people that means forgetting the past year’s problems and stress in order to start anew with fresh objectives. As it happens, in Japan this is a very special season full of Buddhist traditions and beliefs that merge with the progression of the Chinese calendar. This 2016, according to…

Make a Trip to Each of the Seven Lucky Gods in Shibamata!

One of the most-awaited events in Japan during the New Year holidays is visiting the seven lucky gods in shrines and temples where statuettes are being sold. There are many ways for people to do this which mostly include walking courses or pilgrimages across the country. Let’s explore the beautiful walking course of Shibamata. Shibamata…

Okera-Mairi: Keep the Flame Lit and Have Good Health in the New Year!

Before the first day of New Year, many people visit Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto to pray for good health for the entire upcoming year. This is a traditional year-end festival held from 7 pm of December 31st through 5 am of January 1st. A large number of people attend the event and some bring home…

3 Useful New Year Train Passes for Travelers in Kansai

In Japan, New Year is a very important day and they usually perform the “hatsumode 初詣” visit to shrines and temples during the first week of the year. In order for people to be able to visit the shrines more easily (without incurring high expenses) during this period, the Kansai area Hankyu and Hanshin train…

A Guide to 2 Traditional Decorations Used for Japanese New Year

The New Year is a big deal in Japan. The most important holiday of the calendar year, when family and friends get together and celebrate the year gone by and the potential of the year to come. If you are in Japan around this time, you will see some unique and beautiful decorations. Of course,…

Check Out Kit Kat’s New Year Packaging and Kit Kat Mail!

Do you know that Kit Kat has been commonly given as a way of saying “Good Luck” in Japan? It is mainly because of a linguistic reason where the Japanese pronunciation of Kit Kat sounds a lot like kitto katsu. Kitto katsu means “You will definitely succeed” in Japanese. Thus, it has become very common…