Japanese new year traditions are very different then American. There are no big countdown parties, no drinking, and no fireworks. Many Japanese do stay up late, but to be the first to visit and pray at a temple for the new year. Another interesting tradition is to watch the first sunrise of the new year. This year, my friend and I decided have a Japanese new year and watch the first sunrise… but from atop a mountain.
Mt. Fuji being out of the question, the next choice was Oyama. Fairly close and a nice 1, 252 meters high, it also has a famous temple where many people come to pray for the new year. This year also falls on a full moon so even without a flashlight the hike up would be very nice. Once at the top we just had to wait about 2 hours before the sun came up. Although I knew it would be cold, and packed accordingly, the top of a mountain is not a fun place to be in the middle of winter at night. The time was spent looking at the amazing night view of the city while shivering uncontrollably, thus no pictures of the beautiful night view.
However, as the sun started to come up it was time to finally bring in the new year.
Still very cold!
There was one single cloud blocking the sun for a while (>_< )
Watching the start of a new year, with lots of other Japanese people.
Playing music at the top of the mountain.
Getting our new years fortune. I got 大吉 !
I got to pound mochi at the temple, another interesting new years tradition.
Eating the mochi I just made.