Japanese New Year Dishes – Osechi Ryori

In 2020, I was in Japan having a New year at Onsen. The below was the New Year foods that I had as a breakfast on the 1st Jan.  Osechi Ryori is a special meal for a new year. Usually the Japanese provide the certain special foods.

Foods for Osechi and the reasons for that

I explain from the top left hand side box and why they put them in.

1. Kuri kinton – (Candied Chestnuts and Sweet Potatoes) is a sweet Osechi dish for Japanese New Year that symbolizes economic fortune and wealth.

Kuri Kinton-栗きんとん

2. Kazunoko – salted herring roe that has been marinated in seasoned Dashi that symbolizes many children and prosperous family.

Kazunoko – 数の子

3. Tazukuri – is a very popular dish for osechi ryori and it is made of roasted Japanese anchovies coated in a sweet soy sauce glaze that symbolizes harvest, health and prosperous family.

Tazukuri – 田作り

4. Kuromane – Sweet Black Soybeans, are an important part of the symbolic Osechi Ryori meal of traditional Japanese New Year foods that symbolizes long life, health body and protection from evils.

Kuromame – 黒豆

Now, from the top right hand side box.

5. Takenoko – Bamboo shoots or bamboo sprouts that symbolizes prosperous family and long-last happiness.

Takenoko – たけのこ

6. Kamaboko – a type of cured surimi, a processed seafood product common in Japanese cuisine. Kamaboko is formed in a half moon sized on a wooden board and that shape looks like a sunrise, that symbolizes a beginning of new journey. What’s more it is quite often putting red and white kamaboko for Japanese new year food. Both colors are for celebration and a meaning of red is a protection from evils and a meaning of the white is purity.

Kamaboo – かまぼこ

7. Red and White namasu – pickled daikon and carrot, one of the traditional Japanese New Year Osechi dishes.  The colors of red and white express Mizubiki [水引・decorative Japanese cord made from twisted paper,] and it is quite important food to be prepared for Osechi.

Kohaku Namasu – 紅白なます

That was all inside two boxes. There are other foods can be prepared for Japanese New Year.

Now let me explain a type of fish that was placed. That was ” Tai”・ yellowtail. There are other fishes can be eaten such as salmon, sea bream and tuna. The yellotail I had has a meaning of prosperity. Salmon symbolizes many children.


The photo below is mochi. Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of mochigome. That was specialty of the Onsen I stayed. Usually eaten at the Japanese new year.

This new year I was unwell just spending times in my bed and watching the firework that my neighbors set off. New Year is a special thing in Japan. If you ever travel at this season you must try and enjoy the Japanese new year foods!

About mkchatinjapanese

I am a native Japanese who teaches Japanese to non-Japanese speaker as a private tutor. Teach from a beginner to Intermediate level. location in London.
This entry was posted in A Japanese Slang, Japanese custom, JAPANESE EVENTS, JAPANESE FOOD, JAPANESE LIFE, JAPANESE SOCIETY and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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