Japanese New Year's decorations
Japan Travel Blog› entry 13 of 37 › view all entries
Like the western tradition of hanging wreaths on doors for Christmas, the Japanese also decorate their doors for the New Years or Shogatsu. These decorations are usually kept up until January 15th, although around Yokosuka where I live some were taken down as early as the next day, and others kept up 'til almost February (maybe it's us Americans...). The most common decoration are sprigs of wakamatsu pine tied the the gateways around doors. The pine decoration is called kadomatsu, and there is usually a shimenawa, a sacred rope with zig-zag strips of white paper seen at shrines year-round. Many people have these, and they are only about 100yen at the store. Another common site are woven straw wreaths or shimekazari. They are displayed on or above the doors of houses and shops, with the decorations symbolizing a "wish" for the new year, such as wealth, health, success, etc.
Kadomatsu- "gateway pine" around doors
Shimenawa- Sacred rop
Shimekazari- straw wreath
mochibana- blossoms on willow branches
kagamimochi- "mirror cake," double rice cake mound