New Year Decorations


New Year Food and Decorations

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: New Year
***** Category: Humanity


There are some decoratinons for the New Year prepared with mochi or other food items.
Most of them are eaten after January 15.

hatsu .. means first done in the new year
waka ... means young, also first in the new year

New Year's Food, sechi ryoori 節料理(せちりょうり)o-sechi

Let us look at some of the food-related items, that are not typiclally osechi.


hatsu kashigi 初炊ぎ (はつかしぎ) first cooking (of rice)
hatsu kamado 初竈 (はつかまど) first use of the hearth (fire)

fukuwakashi 福沸 (ふくわかし) first boiling of fresh water

fukunabe 福鍋(ふくなべ)first preparing of a hodgepodge


kakedai 掛鯛 (かけだい) sea bream decoration
..... kakedai 懸鯛(かけだい)"hanging sea bream"
niramidai 睨鯛(にらみだい / 睨み鯛)"glaring at the sea bream"
tsutsumi-o no tai 包尾の鯛(つつみおのたい)sea bream with the tail wrapped

This is a special decoration for the New Year and wedding parties.
It can be hung at the eaves of a home or temple or shrine.
The fish is not eaten afterwards, so people "glare" at it. Also maybe because two fish are hung up to glare and stare at each other.
They are an amulet for strong family ties.

. iwaidai 祝鯛 sea bream for celebrations .


kezurikake 削掛 (けずりかけ) srcaped wood pole
(for hanging the decorations)

kezuribana 削花(けずりばな)scraped flowers
kibana 木花(きばな)wooden flowers
hoitakeboo ほいたけ棒(ほいたけぼう)
awabo hiebo 粟穂稗穂(あわぼひえぼ)pole for awa and millet

kezurikake sasu 削掛挿す(けずりかけさす)sticking the pole for decoration

hondare ほんだれ, hodare 穂垂れ(ほだれ)hanging ears (of rice)

The wood is shaved into flowrers or the ears of grains are hung on it to pray for a good harvest.


CLICK for more photos

mochibana 餅花 (もちばな) "mochi flowers"
hahamochi 花餅(はなもち) flower-mochi
hana kazari 花飾(はなかざり)、
mochi no hana 餅の花(もちのはな)flowers made from mochi
mochiho 餅穂(もちほ)ears (of rice) made from mochi
mochigi 餅木(もちき)tree branch with decorations

inaho 稲穂(いなほ)ears of rice
inaho no mochi 稲穂の餅(いなほのもち)mochi like ears of rice

mochi demari 餅手毬(もちでまり)temari balls as mochi
Temari, decoration balls

These red and white round mochi are put on branches of willows or bamboo and hung on the shelf for the deities (kamidana) in the home or at the entrance, especially of stores and shops. The twigs bend down by the weight of the mochi and thus remind the people of ears of rice. They are a prayer for a good harvest in the coming year.

Now many are made from plastic and hung in the shopping malls and department stores, beginning at the end of the old year and taken down on January 14.

mochi-bana ya kazashi ni saseru yome ga kimi /mochibana

these mochi flowers -
put up for decorations
for the first mouse

Written around 延宝年間, Basho around age 35.
He observed the first mounse looking hungry at these deliciuos decorations.

hokku about mochi
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

. First mouse 嫁が君 (よめがきみ ) yomegakimi .
old name of the mouse / New Year

source : itoyo/basho


. Mayudama 繭玉 (まゆだま) "cocoon balls"
mayudango 繭団子(まゆだんご)dumplings like cocoons
mayumochi 繭餅(まゆもち)cocoon ball mochi
They are a bit smaller than the mochibana and are a prayer for the silk production.

toshi no mochi 年の餅 (としのもち) mochi for the New Year

Wakamizu 若水 First Water, "young water"

wakamochi 若餅 (わかもち) "young mochi"
Prepared during the first three days of the New Year. Sometimes also for the small New Year (koshoogatsu) on January 15.

tsuttoko つっとこ New Year Food
Toge Shuraku, Matsudai Area 峠集落(松代エリア)Niigata

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


kamakeru na yanagi no eda ni mochi ga naru

stop pestering!
rice cakes are growing
on willow branches

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. David Lanoue

This haiku has the prescript, mochibana.
Mochibana are rice cakes with willow branches stuck in them, presented as offerings to the gods on home altars


mayudama no odoru ga gotoku saku gotoku

the cocoon balls
are like dancing
like blossoming

Hayashi Shoka (Shooka ) 林昌華 (1923 -

Related words

***** WASHOKU : General Information

New Year's Food, sechi ryoori 節料理(せちりょうり)

WASHOKU ... Japanese Food SAIJIKI

. New Year Decorations (o-kazari)  
and KIGO 




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