fall foliage forecast for 2023 (Japanese version only)

This year's fall foliage is late

Daisetsuzan National Park Sounkyo Visitor Center(Hokkaido): (Japanese version only)

when and where to see fall foliage (almost Japanese version): (English version)

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year's Holidays 2019

May the New Year bring many good things to you.

2019 is the Year of the Pig according to the Chinese zodiac. Each of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs is related to a characteristic animal. In the Japanese zodiac, the Pig is replaced by the boar because pigs were not common in Japan.

Wild boar was thought to be a messenger of the god of fire prevention. People used to put heaters  in rooms to pray for fire prevention on the day of the boar. A pig-shaped burner for mosquito coil(蚊取り線香) is popular, but the burner is said to be boar-shaped to pray for fire prevention originally.

Visitors can sometimes see ornamental metal fittings with heart shaped cut outs in Japanese Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. The cut outs mean Inome(猪の目, boar's eye) and have been used to ward off evil spirits and bring happiness.

Inome-window, Shoju-in(正寿院), Okuyamada, Ujitawara-cho, Tsuzuki-gun, Kyoto Prefecture
credit: Hunini
From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

New Year's card

"亥" means a boar.
"元旦" means New Year's Day morning.

New Year's card

The Japanese era name "Heisei(平成)" is scheduled to end on 30 April 2019 when Japan's Emperor Akihito will abdicate. He will relinquish the throne to his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito. Japanese era names used to be changed repeatedly prior to the Meiji period. It was ruled to change era names only when a new emperor acceded to the throne in 1868. The next era name is in the air. The government will release the name a month before the imperial succession.

New Year's greetings

formal(to elders and betters)
・謹賀新年(Kinga Shinnen)
・恭賀新年(Kyoga Shinnen)

New Year's card

New Year's card

New Year's card

・寿(kotobuki) -- happy, auspicious
・福(Fuku) --happiness
・賀(Ga) --celebration
・賀正(Gasho) --observe New Year's holidays
・賀春(Gasyun) --observe a new year
・頌春(Shosyun)--praise a New Year
・迎春(Geisyun) --embark on a new year
・初春(Hatuharu) --a new year, beginning of year
・新春(Shinsyun) --a new year

"春" means spring. Spring means a new year because a year used to begin around the first day of spring according to the lunar calendar.

New Year's card

New Year's card

New Year's card

to anyone

New Year's card

New Year's card

Ornamental cabbages(葉牡丹, habotan) have been used as a ground cover plant of New Year's decorations since the middle of the Edo Period. Habotan means leaves like a peony. In recent years, miniature ornamental cabbages are very popular as a cut flower or a plant suited to group plantings. A bouquet made of the cabbages looks like a rose bouquet.

Ornamental cabbages are often planted with violas and garden cyclamens.

two types of ornamental cabbages and a garden cyclamen

New Year Holiday Arrangement with an ornamental cabbage

Ornamental cabbages flower in the second year

New Year Lease

Ready-made traditional New Year foods called Osechi Ryori are set in three-tiered boxes.