New Year’s at the Hotel Nikko Narita is full of excitement, with special events planned only for this special season. On the morning of New Year’s Day, you can experience Japanese traditional rituals such as handing out mochi and Shishimai (Japanese lion dance), enjoyable events that entertain locals and travelers alike.
A 'Kakizome' performance will be held for the first time, with the curator from the Naritasan Museum of Calligraphy demonstrating the art of Japanese calligraphy.
Shishimai is a Japanese traditional performing art in which Japanese lions dance to festival music. It is performed throughout Japan in many variations and is said to be the folk performing art that has the largest number of practitioners in Japan. The practice originated in the early 16th century when people in Isenokuni (Mie Prefecture) made and wore lion masks and danced the Shishimai to drive away famine and plagues.
The first writing or picture drawing with a brush in the New Year is referred to Kakizome in Japanese. Calligraphy is the traditional Japanese art of using a brush and ink to express Chinese characters and kana (Japanese syllables) as an art form. Here in Narita city, where Hotel Nikko Narita is located, an "integrated museum of various calligraphy" called the Naritasan Museum of Calligraphy can be found and is a popular spot among foreign tourists.
Kagamibiraki is a ceremony to hit and break the lid of a sake barrel, after which the sake is distributed to all present to drink together. Aside from New Year’s, the ceremony is performed at auspicious events like wedding ceremonies. Opening the barrel of sake is believed to be symbolic of opening the door to good luck.
Mochi (rice cakes) was originally a special food for celebrations such as New Year's and other auspicious occasions. For each seasonal festival such as Setsubun (the eve of the first day of spring), Momo no Sekku (Girls' Festival) and Tango no Sekku (Boys' Festival), mochi is made and displayed as an offering. Japanese people also partake of mochi at the time of seasonal changes such as the Star Festival, the Bon Festival days and Equinoctial week. In this way, mochi has been handed down to the current generation and has been indispensable to Japanese people's lives and events.