Tag Archives: New Year’s

A New Year in Japan – Taking the Romance Car Home

Our final leg home was a ride in a fast limited express train. It was the Romance Car again!


It was the same kind of train as we took at the beginning of our trip. Here’s my daughter posing in front of it.


Looking back while on the train, we could see Shinjuku.


Here’s a bridge crossing the Tama River into Kawasaki.


We say goodbye to the Romance Car.


And so, that’s all for our New Year in Japan. I hope you enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures. If you missed any of the trip, just look back at the last few posts that started on January 1st.

A New Year in Japan – A Break at Shinjuku Station

On our way home, we caught the train at Kita-Toda Station and went straight to Shinjuku. But we got to see this before we got in the train. A Shinkansen!

We didn’t ride the Shinkansen. We took a local train to Shinjuku, which is the world’s busiest station. We had some time before our next train, so we looked around a little and I took the opportunity to take some pictures.


There was a bento (lunch box) shop in the station with a very interesting display. This is it.


A closeup reveals that they’re all plastic! Japan is well-known for its plastic food displays at restaurants, but this one was quite impressive.


Some more of the station. That green store is called 3 Coins, which means that everything inside costs 300 yen.


This is the ticket gate, one of many in this station. There are actually around three hundred exits at Shinjuku Station.


But it was soon time for us to board the train that would take us almost home. Yes, another Romance Car! That’s for the next post.

A New Year in Japan – Two Trees or One?

We’ll be leaving for home soon. We’ve decided tenge train route. We both have a couple more days off work, but our daughter goes back to her nursery tomorrow. But this post has nothing to do with that. At my wife’s grandmother’s house, there’s a black pine. Here it is.


But then, there’s also this.


They’re different. One’s thicker, the other is spinier. But they’re on the same tree. Don’t believe me? Look at this.


There you go. The shorter spiny needles are newer, I believe.

Anyway, we’ll be going home soon. And it’ll be back to normal blogging.

A New Year in Japan – A Fried Japanese Dinner

Almost everything was fried for dinner. The drinks were not. This is what we ate:


It’s tempura and gyoza. They were all homemade. Gyoza is also known as potstickers or dumplings. Tempura is lightly coated vegetables and seafood that’s deep fried. I enjoyed the onions and maitake mushrooms the most. There was also crab, but I don’t like crab. To be honest, it looks so weird, I just don’t want to eat it. Actually, I’ve tried before and just didn’t like it.

Tomorrow, we return home. But maybe something exciting will happen? I have no idea!

A New Year in Japan – Day Two Begins With More Family

We headed out early in the morning to see my wife’s maternal grandparents. It was a very eventful trip. But first, some buses and a train.

It was a sunny, but cold morning.


We got off the train at Kita-Urawa, and went to another bus.


At the grandparents’ house, we were greeted with green tea and senbei (rice crackers).


But our second temple visit of the year was to begin soon. That’s in the next post.

A New Year in Japan – The Feast

We spent quite a bit of time with various relatives eating a lot of food. I had plenty of meat, shrimp, and egg. But here’s the osechi again. Much more than lunch!


Afterwards, we are more. My daughter was exhausted from the early morning and lots of walking. She fell asleep around 6 pm.

Well, this is it for today. We did most of the big things today, but who knows what happens tomorrow?

A New Year in Japan – Hatsumode

Hatsumode is a tradition on New Year’s in Japan. It’s the first visit to a temple or shrine in the new year. We went to Wakoin, a temple in Saitama city to visit a grave.

Here’s the main gate of the temple.


And the main hall of the temple.


I didn’t take a picture of the cemetery, since that would be considered rude. This is probably the biggest tradition on New Year’s Day. Some people do it at midnight. Temples and shrines are typically quite busy after midnight, and some have thousands or hundreds if thousands if visitors in the first three or four days of the year. Wakoin wasn’t very busy.

One more update for today.

A New Year in Japan – Traditional Food for Lunch

When we arrived at the in-laws’, we got to have some lunch. It was mostly normal fare, but there was also osechi. This is a set box with traditional foods that are eaten at New Year’s. Here’s one osechi set.


And here’s my daughter eating renkon, or lotus root. She likes it! I’m surprised.


Next, it was time to go out for Hatsumode. What’s that? Find out in the next post. But before that, here’s a New Year’s display in the in-laws’ house.


Keep checking back. More to come before the day is over.

A New Year in Japan – On the Train

The rest of our New Year is with the in-laws. What came next was a train ride. And this is the train we took.


A closer look. It’s a Romance Car. It’s an express train with reserved seats with Odakyu.


On the train, we got a view of Mt. Fuji.


At Shinjuku, we changed trains to the Saikyo Line.


On the train, my daughter fell asleep sitting up.


And in Saitama, we could see Mt. Fuji again. But it’s a bit farther away.


Coming up next is lunch!