Traditional Japanese New Year Foods

The start of a new year as we always said, is a new chance and beginning. It’s important for many of us to start it right, for example, Japanese! Japanese have their own traditional celebrating on it. Traditionally there are certain foods that are eaten during celebrations, and you may find that many of the dishes or ingredients are actually symbolic of something.

Let’s dig in more together about it!

Toshikoshi Soba

Soba or we know it as noodles has been playing an important traditional food around the world. Toshikoshi soba is traditionally eaten the night before New Year’s on New Year’s Eve. The dish consists of buckwheat noodles in a soup with various toppings. Soba symbolizes a long life. So by eating it, we wish for a long life for the next year!

Ozouni

Ozouni is known as a soup and is traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day. It is known to bring good luck, so it become a traditional food to eat on New Year! Usually, the soup consists of chicken and various vegetables. But you can add mochi or soba too! Refreshing and yummy 😍

Osechi Ryouri

I would say this is a complete package of food for New Year! It’s like a big bento box, consisting of food that is believed good for us. It’s like a prayer of the new year through food. There are so many components to Osechi, and it varies so much depending on who has prepared it. It is commonly put into a traditional black bento box and is compartmentalized based upon the dish. 

Inside Osechi Ryouri

Here are some foods that are commonly used and eaten plus the meaning of it!

Black Beans: Usually made sweet, they are said to represent hard work.

Datemaki: A type of sweet rolled egg mixed with fish cake, the dish is supposed to represent scholarship.

Kazunoko: Kazunoko is also found in Osechi and is herring roe. It usually is salty and crunchy, and it represents fertility.

Shrimp: It is also very common to find shrimp in many variations in Osechi. Sometimes they are large and whole, sometimes as tempura, and sometimes peeled. The shrimp is also said to be for longevity, much like many things found in a New Year’s dish.

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