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Dec 31st

In Japan, it is customary for families to spend December 31 eating soba noodles together.
In addition, song programs featuring performances by the year’s most popular artists are broadcast.
At temples, bells are rung 108 times, the Buddhist equivalent of the number of troubles, and people listen to the ringing, reflect on the events of the year, and wait for the coming New Year.

New Year Eve's Bell

Photo from: https://kids.rurubu.jp/article/117904/

Soba

Photo from: https://gift-manners.shaddy.jp/article/2908/

After Jan 1st

Osechi ( traditional cuisine )

In Japan, there is a custom of eating a dish called osechi with the family on New Year’s Day.

The ingredients used in osechi have various meanings, such as prayers for the prosperity of offspring and a bountiful harvest, and are eaten while wishing for happiness and health in the new year.

Osechi

Photo from: https://www.vmg.co.jp/restaurants/magazine/osechi/

Otoshidama (tradition)

In Japan, there is a custom called “Oshidama,” in which elders give money to their relatives’ children on New Year’s Day.
It is said that the custom originally started when the patriarch of the family gave round rice cakes to his family members to pray for good health and a bountiful harvest for the year ahead.

First shrine visit of New Year

When the New Year arrives in Japan, people visit shrines and temples to pray for happiness in the coming year.
At shrines and temples, people drink amazake (sweet sake), draw omikuji (fortune cards) to test their luck for the year, write their wishes on ema (votive picture tablet), and pray for happiness in the new year.

Temple around New Year's day (Kaminarimon, Tokyo)

Photo from: https://www.hoshimi.com/column/150hatsumoude/

Ema (votive picture tablet)

Photo from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/haru01/16401745445