Customs for January

The First shrine visit

1st January to 7th January, The first visit to a shrine

Hatsumode, or the first visit to a shrine, is a custom for new year in Japan. We wish for success in our New Year. People used to visit a shrine at night after the sun sets on New Year’s Eve, but now it’s common for people to visit in the morning after breakfast. In some areas, people visit a shrine and pray exactly when the date changes called, “Ninen-mairi”.
Izumo Taisha Shrine


Wed, 6th January Xiaohan

Xiaohan comes 15 days after the winter solstice.
Xiaohan continues until the beginning of spring.
Around the 6th of January, Oshogatsu finishes and everybody goes backs to their normal life.

Rice porridge with the seven herbs of spring

Thurs. 7th January: Rice porridge with the seven herbs of spring

Rice porridge with the seven herbs of spring is a food that you eat after Oshogatsu to relieve your stomach. By eating the seven herbs of spring, people wish for sound health in the new year.
Please see the details here, Nanakusagayu.


Mon, 11th January: Kagami-biraki, or cutting a cake of pounded rice

The custom of eating rice cake decorated on the new year is called “Kagami-biraki”.A God dwells in the rice cake and so you can’t use knife, because you’ll ‘cut’ your relationship with god. It’s usually broken with a wooden hammer and eaten with soup. Again, this rice cake is eaten to wish for sound health and a good family relationship.

Coming of Age day

Mon, 11th January: Coming of Age day

The second Monday of January is Coming of Age day.
In Japan, we celebrate “the coming of age 20”, because at 20 years old, people are considered adults. According to the Chinese calendar, the 13th of January is the day when we cerebrate all people who have turned 20 years old. Ceremonies are held everywhere in Japan.
These young people dress in kimono’s and formal suit’s.
Some people return to their parent’s house and attend a special ceremony, and seeing old friends is part of the fun.


Fri, 15th January: Dondo-yaki fire

Dondo-yaki fire is an event to burn sacred ropes and calligraphy to send a God to heaven. It’s purpose is also to wish for sound health in the New Year.

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