Kikyo's diary

This blog introduces daily lives, travel, food, culture, work in Japan.

Mother's Day in Japan

Happy Mother's Day !



May 13th this year is Mother's Day.

The second Sunday in May are set Mother's Day In Japan.

Most popular present is flowers especially carnations on Mother's Day.

There were only red and pink carnations before.

 Nowadays, we can enjoy various kinds of carnations because of breeding.

Although Father's Day is set the third Sunday in June, that day is not so popular like Mother's Day.  There are no standard present such as carnations.


May is a good season to enjoy greenery in Japan. The early summer rainy season begins about the middle of June,

Japan has four seasons. The rainy season is between spring and summer.

However,  I feel that spring and fall are shorter and shorter, winter and summer are longer and longer every year. I think it might be because of global warming.


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冬至, Winter solstice on December 22

Today is "Toji", Winter solstice!

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冬至は、1年で最も日が短くて、最も夜が長い日です。この日から段々と日が長くなっていきます。 まだ、とても寒いですが、今日を境に春に向かっています。


“Toji” means the winter solstice in Japanese. Toji is on December 22 in Japan. It is the shortest daytime and the longest nighttime of the year.
The daytime is getting longer and longer from today. 

It is still very cold but,today is the turning point going towards spring.




私は、ゆず湯が大好きです。香りも良く、身体をとても温めてくれて、リラックスできます。 冬至には、公衆風呂でも、ゆず湯をしている所が多くあるので、そこで体験できます。


In Japan, there are traditional customs to take Yuzuyu(yuzu citron bath) and eat pumpkins.
I love Yuzuyu. It smell good and makes my body really warm and relax.
Since many public bathes have Yuzuyu on Toji, you can experience Yuzuyu.

Osechi-ryori (Japanese New Year’s cuisine)

おせち料理 Osechi-ryori (Japanese New Year’s cuisine)

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Now, it is time to select Osechi-ryori, Japanese New Year's cuisine. 



Osechi-ryori are special dishes to eat at home during the New Year’s holidays.


Relatives come to gather to celebrate the new year. We eat Osechi-ryori. Osechi-ryori were originally prepared at home by housewives and their families on New year eves.

お正月を祝うために、親戚が集まり、おせち料理を食べます。 おせち料理は、もともと、大晦日に家で主婦や家族が料理を準備していました。

It takes so much time to prepare and needs various ingredients. So, it is getting very popular to buy Osechi-ryori at department stores and supermarkets.

調理には、とても時間がかかり、色々な材料も必要です。 それで、段々、デパートやスーパーで買うようになってきました。

To get popular Osechi-ryori prepared by famous Japanese chefs or restaurants, we need to order them more then one month in advance. Every year, I am so excited to select one of them.







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Momijigari, Autumn Leaves Viewing (2017)




Momijigari is “Autumn Leave Viewing.”  Autumn Leave Viewing is one of the seasonal events of Autumn in Japan.

After the hot and humid summer, people enjoy the comfortable climate and plan to view the colored autumn leaves.


 Mt. Fuji from Central Park of Shizuoka Prefecture


 In Ohanami, cherry blossom viewing in Spring, people eat and drink under the cherry blossom trees. Unlike Ohanami in Spring, people do not eat or drink, just view the colored autumn leaves. In Japan, we have four seasons and each season has the features. Autumn leaves turn red or yellow. The mountains with various trees turn autumn colors and look very beautiful. Autumn is the best harvest season. And we can taste various delicious dishes.




The full bloom of colored leaves is expected slightly later than average year. It is from the late of October to the beginning of December.
The color situation changes day by day. So please check the current situation below.

 Even though you do not visit famous tourist spots, you can see the colored leaves here and there in Japan.


Links for whole country colored leaves (only in Japanese)




Japanese Calendar, 2018




National holidays in Japan


New Year's Day gantan
8-Jan Coming of Age Day seijin no hi
12-Feb National Foundation Day kenkoku kinen no hi
21-Mar Spring Equinox shunbun no hi
29-Apr Showa Day showa no hi
3-May Constitution Day kenpo kinenbi
4-May Greenery Day midori no hi
5-May Childrens' Day kodomo no hi
16-Jul Marine Day umi no hi
11-Aug Mountain Day yama no hi
17-Sep Respect for the Aged Day keiro no hi
23-Sep Autumn Equinox shubun no hi
8-Oct Sports Day taiiku no hi
3-Nov Culture Day bunka no hi
23-Nov Labour Thanksgiving Day kinro kansha no hi
24-Dec Emperor's Birthday tenno tanjobi

Grand Sumo Tournament (2017)

Do you know Sumo?
Sumo is a Japanese national sport.
It is said that Sumo has been practicing more 1500 years.

In ancient time, Sumo matches were annually held as rituals to pray for a good harvest.
This lasted over 300 years as an event of the Imperil court.

Later, in Samurai period, sumo became a training of Samurai’s battles.

In the Edo period (appox.400 years ago), masterless samurai and wrestlers organized groups to practice professionally. Sumo matches were regularly held all over the country. And sumo became very popular among common people at that time. Today, it is known as “Grand Sumo.” People come to watch the competition and enjoy it.sponsored link

The rules of Sumo is very simple. 

Sumo is fought in the ring called dohyo. The circle of dohyo is about 4.5 meters across.
To win, a sumo wrestler forces the opponent out of the ring or, makes him touch the ground.

Sumo wrestlers are called rikishi in Japanese. There are 10 ranks. The five highest ranks are called Makunouchi, top division. The ranking change depending on the rikishis’ performance during the previous tournament.

Six grand tournaments take place each year, the New Year's tournament in January in Tokyo, the Spring tournament in March in Osaka,the Summer tournament in May in Tokyo, the Nagoya tournament in July, the Autumn tournament in September in Tokyo, and the final one of the year--the Kyushu tournament in Fukuoka in November.

Grand Tournament Schedule - Nihon Sumo Kyokai Official Grand Sumo Home Page


Furthermore, they have the tours of the country. 
In October 15, they’ll have the tour in Kyoto.

2017 Autumn Tour Schedule:

Tour Schedule - Nihon Sumo Kyokai Official Grand Sumo Home Page

I went to see the tournament in Kyoto last year. It was so excited and I will go there this year, too.
If you are interested in Sumo, I highly recommend you to see it.


You can buy ticket below;

How to Buy - Nihon Sumo Kyokai Official Grand Sumo Home Page


 Sumo tour in Kyoto,2017


【Tokyo Sightseeing#10】Let's watch the "O-zumo" Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan!

Traditional festivals in autumn



Many traditional festivals are held in autumn in Japan.

 The pictures below are “Hagi matsuri” in Nashiki Shrine, Kyoto.
"Hagi" means bush clover, and "matsuri" means festival in Japanese.

Bush clover is one of “aki-no-nanakusa”(the seven flowers of autumn.)
The seven flowers of autumn are the seven wildflowers, such as bush clover,Chinese silver grass,kudzu,fringed pink,golden lace, thoroughwort and balloon flower.

Although we can eat “haru-no-nanakusa”(the seven herbs of spring), we just enjoy viewing the seven flowers of autumn. We don’t pick nor eat them.

There are four seasons in Japan, Spring, Summer,Autumn and Winter.
“Ohanami”, cherry blossom viewing in spring is very famous, but we, Japanese are enjoying and appreciating the nature or flowers each season.

 This is the festival to appreciate bush clover in the shrine.
“Tanzaku” papers written haiku (Japanese poem) are hanging on the branches.

Various traditional Japanese arts such as kyogen play, Japanese dancing and shakuhachi bamboo flute are performed.




This is Ogasawara style of archery, horsemanship and etiquette.