5 Unique Features of Japanese New Year Cards (Nengajo)

Sending cards to family and friends towards the end of the year is something very common. In Japan as well, there’s the custom of sending Japanese New Year Cards, better known as “nengajo” (年賀状). Now, if you think that Japanese New Year Cards are similar to Christmas Cards, you’re WRONG! There are a few features […]


Omiyage: The Culture of Souvenirs in Japan

Maybe you’ve already heard the word “omiyage” before. Maybe you also know that it translates to “souvenir”. But it’s not exactly the same as a souvenir. If you live in Japan or if you visit a Japanese family you should know about the gift-giving and omiyage culture in Japan. What exactly is “omiyage”? Omiyage (お土産) […]


Golden Week in Japan And Why You Should Avoid It

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Golden Week in Japan before. Today I want to explain what exactly it means and why you should avoid it – if you can.   What exactly is Golden Week? Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク) refers to a rare accumulation of Japanese national holidays. While students get a lot of school […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


Shogatsu: Japanese New Year’s Day

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 come together, eat expensive food and visit shrines. It’s a little […]


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 […]

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