by Bryce Marley
Japan is quite famous for it's celebrations and holidays throughout the year, however, how does the land of the rising sun celebrate the new year? Today Japlanning gives you the low down on what to expect and to be prepared for, when celebrating the new year in Japan!
For most in the world, NYE is the big moment, saying goodbye to the year that is passing us and ringing in the new year with friends, family, and even strangers! However in Japan, New Year is a little more important.
In fact, the New Year holiday, known as Shogatsu, is the most important holiday in Japan. With many businesses and tourist attractions closed from December 29th through to January 4th to celebrate.
It is a time for the Japanese to spend with their family and friends, as each year is seen as being completely separate from the one before and the one after, the new year is seen as a time for a fresh start for all, in all aspects, so even at work, all duties are meant to be finished by the time they close up for new years.
The Japanese hold many parties, known as "bonekai parties" which are to celebrate and leave the old year's worries and trouble behind them, and look to the new year and its opportunities and mystery.
When wandering around anywhere in Japan in this holiday season, you will find countless houses, shops, and public spaces all decorated with ornaments, shrines and arrangements all made of bamboo, plum trees and pine.
This is the time of year where temples and shrines get their biggest visits, with thousands of locals visiting, it is quite the sight to see, and one of the most spectacular experiences is to be near them at the New Years mark, to hear the massive temple bells being rung.
New Years Day, its the first day of a fresh start, and there is a festive energy in the air in Japan, one of the best experience you can have, is once again at the major temples and shrines.
If you are willing to brave the crowds and the cold, head out to some shrines and temples with everyone else, you will find countless food stalls selling fresh traditional Japanese treats, watch the locals line up to pray, and purchase some lucky charms to give the years promises some extra luck! You can eat, shop and soak in the festiveness of the season.
On the 2nd, the Emperor of Japan makes his New Years greeting, and has several public appearances at the imperial palace. If it has always been your dream to visit the inner grounds of the Imperial palace, this is the best time to do it, as they are only open to the public twice a year, the other being the current Emperor's birthday, December 23rd.
New Year is an amazing time to visit Japan with the festivities seemingly occurring around you and everyone being in the holiday spirit. It's a phenomenal time to be a part of Japanese traditions and experience just how they celebrate the most important holiday of the year.