January 1, 2014

門松“Kadomatsu” on both sides of the front entrance is a typical scene of Japan’s New Year holidays.

“Kadomatsu” is a New Year decoration composed of bamboo, pine branches and plum branches, and it symbolizes longevity, prosperity and purity.

Bamboo grows rapidly, so it is a symbol of vitality. Pine trees symbolize longevity because they are evergreens. Plum trees bloom in early spring, so they are a herald of spring.

During New Year’s holidays, people make their first visit of the year to shrines and temples.

Every year, Meiji Shrine in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo boasts the largest number of worshippers during the holidays.

It is estimated that about 3.2 million people visit there and pray for their happiness of the year.




神社 正月


My first shrine visit is always to the local shrine in my neighborhood.

Every year, the shrine parishioners decorate the shrine for the new year, and on New Year’s Day, they welcome worshippers with bonfires and “Amazake (sweet sake made from fermented rice).”

In addition, they entertain the worshippers with “Ohayashi” performances.




To the music played with traditional instruments, masked “Ohayashi” members including children perform comical movements and dances acting as mythical creatures like “Shishi (a lion-like creature),” “Kitsune (a fox),” “Hyottoko (a humorous-faced person),” “Otafuku (a laughing-faced person).” Of course, all the people there are really excited and get a good start of the year.

獅子舞 神社 おたふく ヒョトッコ








ラ・フェット ししラ・フェット 狐




















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