2016 New Year Pics!


12476304_914032712026164_1873983526_nTaken by Takahiro Suzuki


Mt. Fuji (富士山)

It is considered to be particularly good luck to dream of Mt. Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant in the new year. This belief has been in place since the early Edo period.

11048774_983844021654783_2650567043438086123_nTaken from Lake Ashi (Hakone, Kanagawa Pref) by Yayoi Minowa

10246598_546108312232443_4165769954276567388_nTaken from Katsuragiyama (Izunokuni, Shizuoka Pref) by Yuko Murayama

1017423_506963536150436_7609125564264024768_nTaken from Yokohama by Haruko Nishimura


The first sunrise (初日の出, Hatsuhinode)

One of many “firsts” that the Japanese take note of during the celebration of the new year. This tradition has been practiced since ancient times – originally performed at the beginning of spring based on the lunar calendar, hatsuhinode is now practiced faithfully on January 1st and has been since the switch to the Gregorian calendar in 1873.

535311_10206972212378131_2476915707664045511_nTaken from Narita Airport by Shinji Shishikura

1929339_1065516580158404_6210308876331383198_nTaken from Haneda Airport by Naoko Okada

10351896_1214616941888781_2281283105061392267_nTaken from Cape Inubo (Choshi, Chiba Pref) by Tomoko Komatsuzaki

10584063_1206600866023115_4425741399032952535_nTaken from Nebukawa (Odawara, Kanagawa Pref) by Koyuki Matsumoto

10289930_1224812057532403_5547269911637751833_nTaken from Mother Farm (Futtsu, Chiba Pref) by Tsuyoshi Takayama


New Year’s visit to a shrine/temple (初詣, Hatsumode)

The first Shinto shrine visit of the Japanese New Year. Some people visit a Buddhist temple instead. Many visit on the first, second, or third day of the year as most are off work on those days. There are often long lines at major shrines/temples throughout Japan.

12417803_1006166116073057_44250966794522939_nTaken at Imado Jinja Shrine (Taito-ku, Tokyo) by Hiromi Suzuki

1237_10153429573277804_2887862635221020281_n (1)Taken at Ninomiya Jinja Shrine (Funabashi, Chiba Pref) by Yayoi Obara

12400464_792700767523125_3994429950157887227_nTaken at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine (Kamakura, Kanagawa Pref) by Megumi Jojima

940810_1696920087191422_6577660139829714187_nTaken at Meguro-fudoson Ryusenji Temple (Meguro-ku, Tokyo) by Sakurako Sato

1390710_937896349630684_2617753377961418175_nTaken at Shinshoji Temple (Narita, Chiba Pref) by Yukiko Hyodo

943868_1030858493637952_7797004677791084640_nTaken at Takahata-fudoson Kongoji Temple (Hino, Tokyo) by Takahiro Nakahata

10011460_913492902074447_4273410241981699923_nRinging the bells on New Year’s Eve! *Taken by Megumi Honzawa

10646650_801586383280880_5239334608602041018_nTaken at Kobuchizan Kannon-in Temple (Kasukabe, Saitama Pref) by Masanori Tsuchibuchi


Lion dance (獅子舞, Shishimai)

A form of traditional dance in Chinese culture and other Asian countries in which performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume. Versions of the lion dance are found in China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Vietnam.

10632683_10205248601194128_4996937759801707250_nTaken at Higashi-Ojima Jinja Shrine (Koto-ku, Tokyo) by Sosen Imai


Oshiruko/shiruko (お汁粉/汁粉)

A traditional Japanese dessert. It is a sweet porridge of azuki beans boiled and crushed, served in a bowl with mochi. There are different styles of shiruko, such as shiruko with chestnuts, or with glutinous rice flour dumplings instead of mochi.

10606046_793129227480279_3434473526887358633_nTaken by Megumi Jojima


New Year chopstick rests (箸置き)

IMG_5108IMG_5110Made by Yuka Kayamori, taken by Isao Tokuhashi


All Japan High School Soccer Tournament (全国高等学校サッカー選手権大会)

An annual nationwide high school association football tournament, which takes place during the winter school vacation period, culminating in a two-week final tournament stage with 48 teams in December to January at National Olympic Stadium and other venues in Greater Tokyo Area.

1923770_1063819706994103_7362757012694231656_nTaken at Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium (Yokohama) by Tadashi Sasaki


Visit of the General Public to the Palace for the New Year Greeting (新年一般参賀)

Greeting the royal family during their New Year’s public appearances. Held at the Imperial Palace on January 2 every year.

12400432_733658210102294_710749663049436878_nTaken by Kiwako Agake


Toshikoshi Soba (年越し蕎麦, Lit.”Year-crossing noodle”)

Japanese traditional noodle bowl dish eaten on New Year’s Eve. This custom lets go of hardship of the year because soba noodles are easily cut while eating.

945584_1207405065942695_3106269867705343910_nTaken by Koyuki Matsumoto


Hakone Ekiden (箱根駅伝)

Officially called “Tokyo-Hakone Round-Trip College Ekiden Race” (東京箱根間往復大学駅伝競走). It is one of the most prominent university ekiden (駅伝, relay marathon) races of the year held between Tokyo and Hakone on January 2 and 3. The first day distance is 108.0 km while the distance on the second day is 109.9 km.

1479449_930435573718013_6249058219338764689_nTaken near Hiratsuka Relay Point (Kanagawa Pref, 65km from the starting line) by Miho Itoh

10336807_900133960099911_3279337602514034639_n (1)People are waiting for hill-climbing runners. *Taken in Hakone (Kanagawa Pref, 100km from the starting line) by Asako Horii


Osechi (御節料理 or お節料理)

Traditional Japanese New Year foods. The tradition started in the Heian Period (794-1185). Osechi are easily recognizable by their special boxes called jubako (重箱).

1918559_562250730593449_2418030715214081578_nTaken by Tatsuya Kimura

10295810_1103625489648075_7216257577366184237_nTaken by Tomoko Ohara

1448_937896819630637_2018044662001744277_nTaken by Yukiko Hyodo


Kagami mochi (鏡餅, Lit.”Mirror rice cake”)

A traditional Japanese New Year decoration. It usually consists of two round mochi (rice cakes), the smaller placed atop the larger, and a daidai (橙, a Japanese bitter orange) with an attached leaf on top.

1934954_10153706460211438_873044664669627761_nTaken by Mekdachi Khalil