How I spent my time during new year’s holiday




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Tokyo Nomad

How I spent my time during new year’s holiday

Every year, December is usually the busiest month for me. What keeps me busy is probably the trips that I make at the end of the month toward the beginning of the new year. I went back to my hometown with my wife and daughter to see my family back home. It takes a few hours to reach my hometown by Shinkansen and that’s when majority of people in the country travel too. Let me tell you how I spent my time during the new year holiday. My plan does not look too special but at least you get to see how an ordinary holiday plan looks like in Japan.

1. Shinkansen trip back to my hometown

Every year on the 31st of December until the first 3 days of the new year are the days that I spend my time with my family back in my hometown. My hometown is located in Okazaki which is fairly close from Nagoya. It is the busiest time for Shinkansen so that we usually book the seats a couple of weeks ahead. I think many people book even months ahead.
We usually only spend one day or less at my hometown as we still have my wife’s hometown to visit. This might look bizarre for ordinary couple in Japan as most of the times families are expected to come to husband’s hometown and spend longer time with husbands parents. Depends on where husband’s parents are living, often times visiting there would be such stressful event for a wife.
Looks like it’s not really the case for us as there’s nothing much going on in my parents house and we leave within a day.
I guess one of the new year stuff that I did back in my hometown is Mochi pounding.


This is not something I do every year but a friend of mine who I used to hang out in Oakhouse Kichijoji 2 happened to be back in town at the same time as me. His parents house is like two mins walk from my parents house so he invited me to take a look at this mochi event. Even though it is something traditional to do during new year’s holiday, not many families do this nowadays simply because preparing for the whole event takes time and effort especially when our parents get old.

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Unfortunately, my friend’s family who hosted this mochi event was saying this is the last year they’re going to host this.

2. A local train ride back to my wife’s hometown

Heading to my wife’s hometown takes about two hours by train. Taking a train on Meitetsu line and passing through Nagoya and taking another local train called Yoro Railway, takes us to a neighboring prefecture called Gifu.


The train station we get off is in such rural area. This local train is something opposite to what I see in Tokyo. Not crowded at all and the train comes only once in 30 mins or so. It is such a peaceful quiet area. The train is part of the important infrastructure but most people living in the area have a car so this is not something everyone takes everyday.

3. Reunion at the house with relatives

Just like how Christmas is about reunion with distant relatives in the west, new year’s holiday basically plays the same role. My wife’s family back home is a good example of this. Every year we go visit in Gifu, all her sisters and their family plus some distant cousins come join us for dinner.


Prior to this reunion, I spent some time at a local shopping mall just to see if there’s something interesting and found this amazing looking Wagyu steak in one of the high-end supermarkets. Grilling Wagyu steak at the reunion became my objective soon after.
This 300g Wagyu steak was priced at about 2000 yen which is such a good deal I won’t find in Tokyo. I’m sure the price would’ve been doubled if it was in Tokyo.


This beautiful piece of beef turned into a medium rare steak and served with Rucola leaves, Olive oil, soy sauce and wasabi. It was just amazingly done and I was so proud of myself. The piece was so soft and melted in my mouth.

4. Going to a shrine on the first day of the year

Going to a shrine is something most Japanese people do no matter what their religion is. It’s kind of a Shinto thing and everyone does this without even realizing that this is considered as a religious act.
The reason I go there would be because I’m usually bored around this time of the year and the fortune telling they have at the shrine is kind of fun.

The fortune-telling is written on the paper and you’re supposed to tie it in before you leave the shrine

These are the things I did during the new year's holiday. I realized that I actually did many traditional stuff, at least things I can only do in Japan. My favorite one is the part that involves cooking wagyu beef.
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Hi I'm Shima. I currently live in one of the biggest Oakhouse Apartments called Tachikawa Garden Town with my wife and daughter.

On this series of blog posts, I’d like to introduce useful tips when you actually start living in Tokyo and hopefully in Oakhouse.

Let me know if you are interested to know more about life in Tachikawa. Message me here [ ] for any questions.