5 Fun Things to Do on New Year’s Day in Japan


Written by aki


In Japan, some families enjoy several traditional games during the New Year.

Here are 5 of them today!




Karuta is a Japanese card game.

The cards are divided into reading cards and picture cards. One person reads the reading card and the others touch the card that matches the content.

The first person to touch the card gets it. In the end, the player with the most cards wins the game.

This is a card game called "Hyakunin Isshu", which was created in Japan in about 1280.

This is a card game called “Hyakunin Isshu”, which was created in Japan in about 1280.

These cards were made from waka poems composed at that time and used to be a court game. Several hundred years later, through woodblock printing techniques, it spread to the common people, who began to play it during the New Year’s holiday.




Fukuwarai is said to have been popular from the late 1603-1867 period.

To play, the player blindfolds himself and places parts such as eyebrows, eyes, nose, and mouth on a piece of paper with an outline of a face drawn on it.

The resulting faces are so funny that everyone enjoys laughing at them.


There is a saying in Japan, “笑う門には福来る(Warau kado niha Fuku kitaru)”.This means that good fortune comes to the gate of laughter.If you start the New Year with a smile on your face, the year will surely be a joyful one!



Hanetsuki is a game in which players hit a feathered ball against each other with a board called a hagoita.

In the past, there existed a male ritual of kicking a ball. Among women, the game of playing ball with a stick was practiced.
Over the years, this transformed the cane into Hagoita.




Takoage is a kite.

The reason why Takoage came to be performed at New Year’s is that Takoage was introduced to the Japanese nobility from China a long time ago.

At that time, it was a game of the nobility, but during the warring period, it was also used as a means of communication for warriors.

Years later, it has become a New Year’s tradition.

The reason why it is New Year’s is because in Japan, looking up at the sky at this time of year is said to be “good for your health”.

They started doing Takoage to pray for good health when the New Year arrives!




Sugoroku is a board game in which players roll dice and advance as many times as the dice roll to reach the goal.

Since Sugoroku is played by shaking dice to reach a goal, luck is the key. Therefore, people used to play sugoroku at New Year’s to test their luck for the year.



I wish you a happy year!

I hope that this year will be another year of laughing and spending time with friends and everyone!I will continue to provide fun and interesting information about Japan this year!



Hello! I live in a place called Shiga, Japan. I'm not very good at English, but I'm writing this blog in the hope that I can convey some of Japan's beautiful places and delicious food to people overseas.