4 Special Foods For Traditional Holidays In Japan

4 Special Foods For Traditional Holidays In Japan

In Japanese cuisine tradition, some foods are only to be enjoyed in specific events or traditions. Find what Japanese people love to eat during the holidays.

#1 Doll’s Festival / ひな祭り

Doll’s Festival is celebrated in March. Dolls are dressed in kimonos and receive food offerings. The family eat the offering, usually colored rice cakes, and drink amazake (sweet drink made of rice).

#2 Children’s Day / こどもの日

Children´s Day, held on May 5th, is an occasion to treat children with dumplings and sweets made of bean paste, mochi and other confections.

#3 Obon / お盆

Obon is a summer Buddhist festival honoring the spirits of the ancestors. The festival abounds in food; you can buy food at the temples or eat with your family at home.

#4 New Year’s Day / お正月

Shogatsu, the Japanese New Year is the most important of all the holidays. That day people eat “osechi ryori”. 

The osechi ryori is placed into jubako boxes (beautifully adorned boxes containing food in several inner compartments). Jubako boxes are stackable so you can pile them up and store them away.

Japanese people choose what they consider the most delicious food for that day: gomame (small glazed sardines), namasu (daikon and carrot salad), kurikinton (smashed sweet potatoes and chestnuts), sweet black beans or kuromame, datekame (sweet rolled omelet) and a long list of delicacies. Ozoni (New Year soup) is a must.