Tokyo is preparing to celebrate the first New Year’s Eve of the Reiwa Era (Beautiful Harmony) that began last May 1 with the rise to the throne of Hiro-no-miya Naruhito Shinno. This will be the first New Year’s Eve of the present era in Japan, something for which the Japanese prepare carefully.
December is especially important in Japanese culture. Although they do not celebrate Christmas, throughout the month the Japanese make preparations to live the ‘Oshogatsu’ or ‘Japanese New Year’, which runs between December 28 and January 5.
Parallel to the western festivities, the Oshogtasu serves for the people of Japan to meet their relatives and close friends. During these days they taste different types of dishes of this month.
The most popular meals are the osechi ryori, traditional traditional craft boxes, with similar bento structures, which contain delicacies these days. But, in addition, dinners of this era include ozoni soup and Toshikoshi soba. Both are quite important, since their intake symbolizes the progress of all the bad things that happened the previous year and the attraction of good fortune.
Among other traditions typical of these holidays, it also highlights the sending of the New Year’s nengajo, letters or postcards of congratulations that are bought or made by hand and that are intended for both family and closest friends.
These have been gaining popularity in digital format over time,
Although postal delivery continues to persist, it is a long-established custom that all Japanese people do.
The religious component is also very present. This is demonstrated by the kadomatsu and shimekazari (talismans of good luck, who expel evil spirits), which hang on the entrances of houses and shops, and the Hatsumode, the first annual visit to Shinto shrines, in order to get the favor of the gods for the rest of next year.
One of the most popular places of worship in Tokyo is precisely the Meiji Jingu shrine, where the year is welcomed with bells and prayers with which to attract good luck and health.
J-CULTURE FEST: MAXIMUM EXPRESSION OF THE JAPANESE POPULAR CULTURE.
Tokyo is also proud to host one of the most important cultural festivals in Japan: The J-Culture Fest. Like every New Year period, the Tokyo International Forum is the venue where this celebration of Japanese culture and identity takes place, recommended to those seeking to discover the traditional face of the country.
J-Culture Fest exhibits the many facets of art and culture of the country, in the form of concerts and kyogen (comedy plays), performed by popular Japanese actors and actresses.
Together with these representations, it also develops a New Year’s Theme Park in which numerous activities are carried out. In them, visitors can try samurai kimonos and armor, learn and practice Shodo (calligraphy), play typical board games and participate in artisan workshops creating traditional elements such as fans or doita palettes.
One of the main characteristics of the J-Culture Fest is that it changes radically from one edition to another, so that none is equal to the previous one. This year, in particular, a kyogen work will be carried out, in addition to a concert of wadaiko (Japanese drums) and workshops of Japanese braiding and candy making and a tea ceremony.