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Japanese New Year

Japanese New Year food, known as osechi-ryori in the Japanese language, is a special selection of delicacies, like kombu (boiled seaweed), kamaboko (fish cake), kuromame (sweetened black soybeans), kinpira gobo (cooked burdock root) and kurikinton (mashed sweet potato served with chestnut). The Japanese New Year food is eaten from 1st January to 3rd January in the country. Osechi-ryori, often also just called osechi, includes different Japanese New Year recipes which are packed in several layers of jubako or laquer boxes. One of the oldest traditions of this occasion is to prepare mochi or sticky rice cakes on the New Year’s Day, which are then eaten in the beginning of January. Some of the most popular Japanese New Year recipes are kurinkinton, kokhaku – namasu (daikon radish and carrot), tazukuri (dried sardine), nishime (seasoned boiled vegetables), sekihan (sticky rice) and ozouni (traditional soup).

Traditional Japanese New Year Recipes

The Japanese New Year food is a combination of dried, sweet and sour foods. However, the osechi-ryori eaten in one region of Japan on this day, is not eaten (often banned) in the other region. On the 7th day of the Japanese New Year, another Japanese New Year food called nanakusa gayu, a seven herbs rice soup is prepared and served. Significance of Japanese New Year Dishes Each Japanese New Year food has a special meaning like fertility, wealth, good health, good harvest, long life, happiness and so on. For example, kurinkinton signifies wealth and victory while tazukuri indicates good harvest.

Modern Japanese New Year Recipes

Modern Japanese New Year food comprises sashimi, sushi, non-Japanese foods and store bought ready-to-eat osechi-ryori. Customary Ways to Eat Japanese New Year Dishes The Osechi-ryori or the Japanese New Year recipes prepared on 1st January are eaten for 3 to 7 days after that.


In Kyoto, Japanese New Year Food is known as kyo-ryori which is of four different types.