What you need to know about winter traditions in Japan
Dec 13, 2021
Japan is the only country where you can enjoy four seasons in every aspect, and one of the most popular ways to enjoy Japan’s four seasons is through its seasonal traditions.
Winter is one of the most important seasons in Japan, as there are a lot of festivities to celebrate during year-end and new years.
In this feature, we will introduce the traditions practiced in Japan during the winter.
Bonenkai is an event where people get together with friends or colleagues to party, with a purpose to close a year by forgetting the troubles that happened during that year, and by celebrating all the achievements for that year. The party is usually held in local izakaya pubs, or restaurants.
Although Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, and is not treated as a religious festival by most, many Japanese enjoy Christmas as a fun and memorable event.
Christmas Eve has become a major date night for Japanese couples, and Japanese families celebrate Christmas Eve by having fried chicken and strawberry shortcakes for dinner.
Winter Solstice usually falls on December 21 or 22, and many Japanese celebrate this day by taking a hot bath infused with yuzu. Yuzu bath is known for its detoxing and healing functions, and it also signifies good luck. Soaking your body in a yuzu bath on the winter solstice is believed to keep you from catching a cold and to ward off any bad spirits.
Hatsumode is a part of Japanese traditional New Year’s tradition, where people visit a temple, or a shrine, for the first time at the beginning of the year. People visit the temples and the shrines to worship the Gods for a good fortune, and some also pick out omikuji (paper fortunes), or purchase omamori (protective charms).
Osechi Ryori is a range of dishes prepared in advance to celebrate the New Years, so people don’t have to cook during the first few days of the year, which are supposed to be busy. Each item in Osechi Ryori signifies something, and you can check this feature to find out more information about Osechi Ryori!
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