Happy New Year! 2015/1/1

It is widely spread New Year custom among Japanese to welcome and admire first sunrise on New Year day. There are some people who clime a high mountain or go to beach to enjoy a bit earlier sunrise than others.
In last several years, I watched first sunrise from the hillside close to my home in Tokyo.
Unfortunately it was cloudy and I could not enjoy the first sunrise this year.
However I could enjoy other two important customs without any problem.

In the morning of the New Year day, we prepare special traditional cuisine which contains the history and culture of each district or each family. Some cuisines are rich in sea foods, others are rich in soil foods, families in western part of Japan take round rice cake, while families in eastern part of Japan prefer square rice cake.

Another widely spread custom is to visit a shrine and prey for health and happiness for family. I made it custom to go around five shrines nearby my home which took me around one and half hours. Some of them are small and quiet, while one of them, Ono shrine, is famous and crowded with New Year worshippers and as usual I had to make a long line to reach to the main building.
Ono shrine goes by the name of First Shrine in the country of Musashi which stood for wide mid part of Japan including current Tokyo. Ono shrine could be the first shrine of the area at around 6th century.