Japanese traditional events in Winter


This page introduces Japanese traditional events in winter.


Touji (winter solstice)

Touji(winter solstice) is the day in which the daytime is the shortest and the night becomes the longest in a year.
On this day there is a custom of praying for disease-free suffering and entering Yuzu(Japanese citron)bath, which warms the body, and in some areas eating pumpkins.

Oomisoka (New Year’s Eve)

The last day of the year is called “Oomisoka” in Japanese.
At Buddhist temples, huge bells are hit 108 times during midnight to get rid of all evil desires.
Also we eat soba noodles called “toshikoshi-soba” (year-crossing soba) to wish for a long lasting life.

Oshougatsu (New Year)

In Japan, the start of new year is called “Oshougatsu”, the first day of which is called “Gantan”.
There are many events and customs celebrating the New Year.
Some people climb a mountain before dawn and see the first sunrise this year. And many people go to the shrine to make New Year’s wish come true.This event is called “Hatsumoude”.
People will prepare boxes of hierarchies full of New Year’s special food. This is called “Osechi”. The food of osechi has a special meaning that mainly wishes well-being.


According to the old lunar calendar of Japan, February 3rd is the day before the beginning of spring. On that day we will throw Fukumame (roasted beans) inside and outside of the house to remove disease and bad luck from the family.
In Japanese, the day is called “Setsubun” which translates as “bean scattering ceremony day”.

Hina-matsuri(Doll Festival/Girl’s Day)

We have the Doll Festival on March 3. It’s the day to pray for healthy growth and happiness for young girls. It’s also called “Momo-no-Sekku” or Peach festival.
Today, we eat traditional dishes like sushi(chirashi-zushi), clam soup, sweet white sake(shirozake), rise cake cubes(hina arare) and diamond-shaped rice cakes(hishimochi) for the Doll’s Festival.