Congratulations on the New Year's Day

A Happy new year to all!
January 1st is called 'Gan-tan' in Japanese and there are many special events and customs to perform to celebrate the beginning of the year.
For example, some Japanese go to mountains and seas on January 1st to worship the sunrise called 'Hatsu-hino-de'.
To welcome in the gods at the beginning of the year, they clean houses during the year-end-period. They decorate doors and entrance gates with special ornaments called 'Kado-matsu' and 'Shime-nawa'. 'Kagami-mochi' is a set of two round, flat rice cakes stacked on a stand. They are displayed as worship offerings to the year god (Toshi-gami-sama).
People visit shrines and temples to pray for health and happiness for the coming year. This act is called 'Hatsu-mode'.
Osechi-ryori is specially prepared New Year's food which are beautifully arranged in lacquer boxes. They are eaten on the first three days of the new year. One of the reasons why Osechi-ryori was invented is said that it was as a result of consideration to reduce housewives' work for three days.
People send New Year's postcards called 'Nenga-jo' to their friends, relatives and colleagues to give updates on their lives.
This tradition have been inherited for more than 1500 years in Japan. If you are interested in studying more about these, please visit the library and reference room which are located on the second floor of Kawasaki International Center. Please visit the website ( for further information.