Tag Archives: Japanese New Year

Ozoni “Japanese New Years Soup” recipe


Marc Matsumoto's Ozoni photo credit from  http://www.pbs.org/food/recipes/ozoni/

Marc Matsumoto’s Ozoni photo credit from

New Years in Japan is called Oshogatsu, お正月 (おしょうがつ – oshōgatsu) it is the most important day that’s celebrated in Japan.  Steep in traditions that goes back hundreds of years, you will still find many Japanese today continuing the same traditions.

On January 1, millions of Japanese visit shrines or temples, offering up a prayer, usually for good health and good fortune.  It is also customary to eat Ozoni the Japanese New Years soup.  This Japanese New Years soup is eaten on the first day of the new year.  Marc Matsumoto a food blogger, shares his family recipe for Ozoni.


  • 1 cup water + 4 cups water
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 pound boneless chicken thighs
  • 8 slices carrot, carved into the shape of a cherry blossom
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 small bunch spinach, lightly boiled and drained
  • mochi
  • yuzu


  1. About an hour before you prepare your Ozoni, put 1 cup of water in a bowl along with the dried shiitake mushrooms. 
  2. Put the chicken in a colander. Boil a kettle of water and pour it over the chicken, letting the water go down the drain. This removes blood and impurities from the meat, giving you a clear soup. 
  3. Put the chicken in a pot along with the remaining 4 cups of water, the carrots, sake, and salt, and then simmer for 20 minutes, skimming to remove any scum that rises to the top. Remove the chicken and set it aside. 
  4. Add the soy sauce, along with the soaking liquid from the shiitake mushrooms to the soup and then adjust salt to taste. Slice up the shiitake mushrooms and add them to the soup. 
  5. Lay down a sheet of aluminum foil in a toaster oven then toast the mochi until it inflates and turns golden brown along the top. You can also just microwave it until it inflates.
  6. To serve, place piece of grilled mochi at the bottom of the bowl, then add a few slices of chicken. Gather a few strands of spinach and tie them in loop and place in the bowl. Add the soup along with two slices of carrot and some shiitake mushrooms. Garnish with some yuzu zest and serve.


If you can’t find yuzu, you can substitute Meyer orange peel

View Marc Marc Matusmoto’s original family recipe 




Oshogatsu, a Japanese New Years Tradition

New Year celebration in Japan is a very important holiday and is steep in tradition that goes back hundreds of years. Japanese call the New Year, Oshogatsu, お正月 (おしょうがつ – oshōgatsu). Today, New Year is celebrated on January 1, but before 1873, the Japanese observed the New Year according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

Some of these traditions still observed today, include bell ringing.  A few minutes before midnight on December 31, New Years Eve, Buddhist temples all over Japan will start ringing their bells.  This bell ringing will continue into the early hours of January 1, until a total of 108 bells are rung.  This symbolizes the 108 human sins according to Buddhists belief and ringing these bells rids worldly desires and sins during the previous year.  On January 1, millions of Japanese visit shrines or temples, this observation is called Hatsumode 初詣 (はつもうで – hatsumōde).  While at the temple the Japanese offer up a prayer, usually for good health and good fortune.  It is also customary to eat  おせち料理 (おせちりょうり – osechi ryōri) see Mark’s no recipes post about the traditional foods.

Children also look forward to otoshidama, a tradition in which money is given to kids a decorated envelope.

picture source: punipunijapan.com

punipunijapan shares other Japanese traditions see below:

Another tradition is sending New Year’s cards called年賀状 (ねんがじょう – nengajō) to friends and family to wish them a happy New Year.

Happy New Year in Japanese is 明けましておめでとうございます (akemashite omedetō gozaimasu)


Mochitsuki Neko New Year’s Decoration


Kadomatsu New Year’s Decoration


Kagami Mochi New Years Decoration


New Years Calendars from Japan







New Years Jubako Lacquered Boxes

TPP329_g TPP328_g

Please see Marks No recipes for more interesting recipes guide http://norecipes.com/blog/osechi-ryori-japanese-new-years-food/