2017 New Year Pics!


15823135_1204184189677680_2962583999286690508_nTaken by Takahiro Suzuki


Kakizome (書き初め, Lit.”First writing”)

A Japanese term for the first calligraphy written at the beginning of a year, traditionally on January 2.

15894319_10209972272802335_3375212256733555817_nA huge calligraphy work by Mohri Suzuki, a Japanese calligrapher. “萬事如意” means “May all your hopes be fulfilled”.

15826336_10209972788535228_3869729599436489005_nMr. Suzuki teaching how to write beautiful letters with a brush. *Taken by Tomomi Yamazaki


Sarumawashi (猿回し, Monkey performance)

A variety of street performances involving trained monkeys performing in front of an audience.

img_8635Taken at Hokekyo-ji Temple, Chiba Pref, by Isao Tokuhashi

Filmed at Hokekyo-ji Temple, Chiba Pref, by Isao Tokuhashi


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.

img_8630Taken at Hokekyo-ji Temple, Chiba Pref, by Isao Tokuhashi

15871688_1270507229655126_6243351671638477678_nTaken at Shibamata Taishakuten Shrine, Katsushika-ku, by Yayoi Minowa

15781723_10154019193467312_5915320833949811781_nRooster girls ringing the bells on New Year’s Eve. 2017 is the year of the rooster in the Chinese astrological calendar. *Taken at Zojo-ji Temple, Minato-ku, by Ann Sado

15822777_1210637118983664_2976260238740556140_nTaken at Kanda Myojin Shrine, Chiyoda-ku, by Akira JW Tei

15826726_1545043678846104_1328589217702425869_nTaken at Juban Inari Shrine, Minato-ku, by Tomoko Komatsuzaki

15825877_1193136200776283_9100932968927968250_nTaken at Meiji Jingu Shrine, Shibuya-ku, by Akira Tamachi

15740856_1214202752000041_3961507110462312568_nTaken at Shinsho-ji Temple, Chiba Pref, by Yukiko Hyodo

15822761_938816242919822_3269649786002690501_nTaken at Shinsho-ji Temple, Chiba Pref, by Kiwako Agake

15826648_10154718685426438_7892557797531044423_nTaken at Zojo-ji Temple, Minato-ku, by Mekdachi Khalil

15781590_614571305420587_7300988280282182165_nTaken at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Kanagawa Pref, by Mac Suzuki

15780777_1054508241342375_2579032013643519653_nTaken at Senso-ji, Taito-ku, by Megumi Johjima

15823054_1218778384870630_2267835711665390423_nTaken at Senso-ji, Taito-ku, by Kiku Chi


Rikishi (力士, Sumo Wrestlers)

The two kanji characters that make up the word are “strength/power” and “gentleman/samurai”; consequently, and more idiomatically, ‘a gentleman of strength’.

15825945_10154889834489233_5867551134620899226_nTaken at Tokyo Skytree by Ayaka Fukuda


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. It has been said that it brings you happiness, good luck and perfect state of health if the lion bites your head.

15780783_10154725654831438_5709433161358832400_n15871997_10154725655266438_5426199885453005352_nTaken at Shiba Daijingu Shrine, Minato-ku, by Mekdachi Khalil


All-Japan University Rugby Championships (全国大学ラグビーフットボール選手権大会)

Matches have been held annually since 1964 to determine the top University Rugby team.

15871686_1052150611581233_7171738570095654563_nDoshisha University vs Tokai University taken at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium, Minato-ku, by Maiko Yoshioka


Kadomatsu (門松, Lit.”Gate pine”)

A traditional Japanese decoration of the New Year placed in pairs in front of homes to welcome ancestral spirits or kami (the spirits or phenomena that are worshiped in the religion of Shinto) of the harvest. The central portion of the kadomatsu is formed from three large bamboo shoots.

15826442_1193721034051133_8071336092386100696_nTaken at Odakyu/Enoden Katase Enoshima Station, Kanagawa Pref, by Akira Tamachi

15726723_10209293608511501_1160010644392328311_nTaken at JR Shinagawa Station, Minato-ku, by Yongbo Seo


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.

15825953_1005510262887568_3635071018745745879_nTaken by Kuniaki Sekine


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.

15871746_1220203114728157_7683962431779969613_n15780635_1220203211394814_7525975443457113983_nTaken on January 2, 2017, by Kiku Chi


Hachiko Statue

The current one was erected in August 1948.

15871803_1193103414112895_7591921492155603903_nWith New Year’s ornament. *Taken by Akira Tamachi


Additional temporary platform at Harajuku Station

It’s used only when major events occur in the area, especially around New Year when many people visit Meiji Jingu Shrine.

15871740_1193114274111809_3361398456475709640_nTaken by Akira Tamachi


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.

15781130_1289768281080319_7546184876915386905_nTaken by Candy Javier Sakai

15823529_939262916208488_3267091899901501250_nTaken from a jet by Kiwako Agake

15871609_1220061104742358_6001350632032677574_nTaken by Kiku Chi

15781189_10207746706896849_5724074084546503780_nTaken from Cape Inubo, Chiba Pref, by Koichiro Abe

15780982_1060527280743077_6214733182830735301_nTaken near Haneda Airport by Mie Mushiga

15826298_1186098158106546_6011830086651213912_nTaken near Haneda Airport by Susumu Matsuzaki

15822810_10211609954503962_8417011332709802678_nTaken from Miura Beach, Kanagawa Pref, by Nana Hirsch


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).

15825829_725603854258135_6997397100209003214_nTaken by Tatsuya Kimura

15726873_1204733492942431_8409380103466439795_nTaken by Mariko Tanaka

15826076_10154335552952804_3012716677267036223_nTaken by Yayoi Obara


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.

15822647_10154335552942804_2690391094922484174_nTaken by Yayoi Obara