Experience a Japanese New Year!

Published on : Thursday, November 26, 2015

Japanese National Tourism Organisation logoNew Year (oshogatsu) is one of the most important events on the Japanese calendar, celebrated with its own unique traditional activities and an elaborate set of special New Year dishes, known as ‘osechi ryori’.
The event, which spans across four days – New Year’s Eve and then the first three days of the New Year, all of which are designated national holidays – involves a series of cultural activities, from tea ceremonies and shrine visits to soba-noodle feasts on New Year’s Eve.


Hotel New Otani in Tokyo is now offering overseas visitors a sneak peek into the exciting traditions surrounding the event as part of a three night package at their hotel. This New Year package will allow visitors access to a myriad of experiences unique to Japan’s style of celebrating the arrival of the New Year. Here are just some of the activities they have on offer:


Year Crossing Noodles on 31 December

On New Year’s Eve in Japan it’s traditional to eat soba noodles (buckwheat noodles), as the long, thin noodles are thought to symbolize longevity.
Hatsumode (The first visit of the year to a shrine) – 1 – 3 January
Hatsumode is a very popular activity on New Year’s Day in Japan, so much so that each year approximately one million people make a visit to Tokyo’s Meiji Jingu Shrine near Harajuku Station during this holiday event. People visit shrines across the country to pray for health for the coming year, to purchase lucky charms and also to experience the festive atmosphere and food stalls that surround the temples.


Osechi Ryori – New Year’s Feast


Osechi ryori is an elaborate meal combining lots of small portions of different varieties of food, all of which have a particular significance relating to the arrival of the coming year. Osechi ryori was originally a way for families to survive the first few days of the New Year when stores throughout Japan were closed and was made primarily at home, but nowadays the dishes can also be purchased in department stores. Served in a compartmentalised lacquer box, each section contains a colourful surprise.



Some typical dishes in osechi ryori are: sweet black soybeans simmered in sugar and soy sauce for good health, roasted sardines seasoned with mirin, dashi, and sesame seeds for a good harvest; herring roe for fertility; sweet potato and chestnuts for wealth; pink and white fish cakes for happiness and pickled lotus root for wisdom.



Source:-  Japan National Tourism Organization

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