Friday, February 24, 2017

So this is the new year

The New Year in Japan is a very important holiday. The house is cleaned top to bottom and temples and shrines are visited to pray for new year's blessings (the first such visit of the year is called hatsumoude). While Japan doesn't follow the Chinese calendar, it does observe the Chinese Zodiac and this year is the year of the rooster.
Bought this at a shrine in Kamakura. There are several charms you can purchase at the new year.

It's also one of two times are year that the inner gardens of the Imperial Palace are opened to the public and the imperial family greets those who want to wish them well for the new year. This year's visit was on January 2nd.
Making our way to the gardens

Beautiful, but so many people on that other bridge! We'd cross that a few minutes later.

That flag is on our fridge now.

The crowd roared as the imperial family came out

Emperor Akihito and his family

And now we work our way out

They cycle through this many people several times throughout the day! We look forward to more leisurely strolls in the future to actually observe the grounds.

We also used this holiday to introduce Blake to Kawaii Monster Cafe, this time lunching in the Mushroom Disco room.
Even the restroom is amazing!

So colorful!

Rainbow pasta!

Monster burger!

A few days later, we observed our own hatsumoude by visiting the Daibutsu or Great Buddha of Kamakura. It was built in 1252 inside of a large temple, but after a series of natural disasters has been in the open air since 1495.

Inside the Great Buddha

Happy New Year everyone!


Nancy said...

What an exciting few days you had ringing in the New Year! :) Thanks for sharing!

Giggles said...

Not sure what I expected to be inside a giant Buddha, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't that.