The coldest season of the year 2018/1/6

There is an old culture in Japan to divide a year into 24 seasons. We have just entered into the coldest season of the year from January 6th. Small coldness season lasts for two weeks and large coldness season follows for another two weeks. These two seasons among 24 seasons are the coldest of the year.

Japan is composed of many islands from north to south with around 3000km length, therefore northern part belongs to subarctic zone, while southern part belongs to subtropical zone. Northern part is usually covered by deep snow during this period.

It is troublesome to have deep snow, however kids are enjoying various winter sports and plays. Sometime they are forced to practice sports or martial arts to train their bodies and spirits.

Cold winter also cultivate sweet vegetables which produce sugar to protect themselves from coldness.

Cold winter is at the same time considered a good sign of ample harvest in the coming autumn, because severer coldness kills more harmful insects during winter.


Most Japanese do not like coldness but they appreciate coldness which carries many blessings. They run various traditional habits during this season such as followings.

To swim in cold sea or river to train themselves,

To decorate branches with flowers made by rice cake to cerebrate in advance rich autumn harvest,

To draw and save water from wells or springs so that they can use it for drinking, cooking or making Japanese wine or soybean sauce and others, because cold water is clean and does not contain any germs,


Japanese oldest anthology “Manyoshu” which was published in 9th century contains a famous song to cerebrate heavy snow fall. It has been considered from ancient time that cold winter is lucky omen for bright feature.  We are having colder winter this year and deeper snow than usual.