Decorations in New Year time in Japan

New Year is the biggest holiday in Japan.

You will see New year decorations everywhere.

kado-matsu (Pine decoration)

Kado(門) means “gate”, and Matsu(松) is “Pine”.
It is basically a pine decoration placed in front of the gate of the house.
Nowadays, people don’t build a gate outside of their house, so it is usually placed just outside of their door.

The decoration is made with pine, bamboo and some other elements, and
it is placed only for a few weeks from the middle of December til January 15th.

This is to welcome good luck into the house.

Shime-kazari (straw-rope decoration)

Shime means “ties” or “closing”, and Kazari means “decoration”.

It is a straw-rope decoration placed on the front door of house.

There are always the 4 elements
1- an orange on the top, hoping for prosperity
2- strips of white paper, hoping for pure and clean mind
3- leaves for prosperity of descendants
4- kelp for joy

Clearly, this is another lucky charm to keep the evil out of the house, and the good luck in the house.


If you get to visit Japan around the New year holiday time, try to pay attention to these decorations because you cannot always see them any other time of the year.

門松やしめ飾りは お正月の一般的な飾りですね。



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