Nihongo Instructor Club Japanese Language School in Azabu, Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

January Guide sign

In Japan many customs are practiced in a traditional way at the end of the previous year and the beginning of the new year.

Things are changing and some people prefer to observe the customs in a nontraditional way as below:

In December cleaning one’s own houses from top to bottom is done to prepare for New Year’s Day.

Nowadays year-end house cleaning can be offered by a house cleaning agency, if he/she doesn’t mind paying for it.

Eating soba (buckwheat noodles) on December 31 is also very popular to wish for a life that’s as long as the long,

skinny noodles. Soba should be boiled for eating for a while. But instant soba in a cup is easier to eat, as all you have

to do is just pouring hot water into a cup and waiting a minute.

Sending the New Year’s greeting card for wishing one’s relatives and friends a happy New Year, is very similar to the

Western custom of exchanging Christmas cards. Only pressing the PC button would be enough to exchange

New Year’s greetings with many people in a minute.

Osechi foods are special dishes for the New Year prepared in advance by house wives, originally intended to reduce their work during

New Year holidays. Now the cooked osechi foods can be purchased either at department store or at local supermarkets.

In the past it was common to see children playing outdoors games like kite-flying by boys and shuttlecock by girls during New Year’s Holidays.

Now they stay indoors glued to TV games.

Fortunately, even today an old custom survives unchanged i.e., visiting a temple or a shrine at New Year’s. People including those who do not ordinarily

go to shrines and temples visit to pray for their health and their families’ happiness. Meiji Shrine in Tokyo attracts more than three million people annually

followed by Fushimi Shrine in Kyoto with a turnout of over 2 million during New Year’s holidays.



Nihongo Instructor Club

Azabu Juban Tokyo