A Quick Guide: Gift Giving in Japan – Dos and Don’ts

With a rich culture, history and several ancient legends, there are plenty of superstitions to be aware of when giving gifts in Japan. Whether you need to send gifts to Japan to thank a host or want to send a gift basket to a business partner, there are things you need to know. Numbers, colors […]

Gift Giving in Japan

Shichi-go-san: 7-5-3 Day on November 15th

Today (November 15) is a special day in Japan called “7-5-3 Day” or “Shichi-go-san” (七五三). Maybe you’ve already heard of it, but let me introduce this interesting and adorable celebration to you.   What is Shichi-go-san? Shichi-go-san (七五三: 7-5-3) is a Japanese festival celebrated for children aged 7, 5 and 3, thus the name. The […]

Shichi-Go-San (7-5-3 Day in Japan)

Tanabata Festival aka The Star Festival

Today is July 7th in Japan and that’s when the calendar tells us it’s “Tanabata” (七夕) which is also known as “The Star Festival” (星祭, hoshi matsuri). It was one of the “five seasonal festivals” (五節句, gosekku) established by the Tokugawa Shogunate. What is the Tanabata Festival? If you translate Tanabata it means the “evening […]

Tanabata Festival Japan

Hina Matsuri (The Doll’s Festival)

Not only today, but every year on March 3rd Japan celebrates the so-called “Hina Matsuri” (ひな祭り). The festival is also known as: “The Girl’s Festival”, “The Doll’s Festival” or “The Peach Festival” (ももの節句).   What is the Hina Matsuri? As the name suggests it’s a festival for the girls in Japan. There’s also a festival […]

Hina Matsuri Japan

Shogatsu: Japanese New Year’s Day

It’s January. A new year has just started here in Japan. After the busy time in December (cleaning, cooking, writing New Year cards) and then finally celebrating New Year’s Eve (Omisoka), what’s happening next? The first day of January is the most important holiday of the year. It is called “Shogatsu” (正月). On Shogatsu families […]

Hatsumode - First shrine visit of the year in Japan

Omisoka: Japanese New Year’s Eve

Around this time of the year Japanese people are busy with various things. Christmas is not what keeps them busy, but the two most important days in Japan: Omisoka (Japanese New Year’s Eve) and Shogatsu (Japanese New Year’s Day).   1. End-of-the-year Preparation Before the year comes to an end and those two days finally […]

Kadomatsu set up in December for New Year's Celebration

Himono Onna – The Dried Fish Woman

I’m pretty sure that most of you know what a dried fish is, right? I also think you’ve heard of “women”? But what on earth is a “dried fish woman”? Japanese society can be tough. There’s this infamous saying:     „The nail that sticks out gets hammered.” Unfortunately this saying is often the sad reality […]

Himono Onna in 'Hotaru no Hikari'

Valentine’s Day in Japan

Hello. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what day today is, now do I? Yes, it’s February 14th, so it must be Valentine’s Day – also here in Japan! However, Valentine’s Day in Japan might be different from what you are used to! First of all, it’s a Western “holiday” that Japan adopted […]

Valentine's Day in Japan

Setsubun: Bean Throwing Day

Happy “Bean Throwing Day“! “Demons out, Good Fortune in!” – that’s today’s motto as it’s “Setsubun” (節分) today (February 3rd). It’s one of my favorite days of the year, so I thought I’d share it with you and tell you some more about it. Well, what do you do on “Bean Throwing Day”? Yeah, right! […]

Setsubun, Bean Throwing Day in Japan

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