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Kagamimochi are sets of two round, flat rice cakes, in which a smaller one is placed on top of a larger one. Mochi has been considered a sacred food since ancient times because rice cultivation has always been indispensable for the Japanese. Kagamimochi are placed in the Tokonoma, a sacred alcove and offered at a Shinto altar. On the 11th of January Kagamimochi are split by hand or hammer, cooked and served with stewed red beans and sugar. This event is called Kagamibiraki.

The bitter orange is often put as an auspicious object.

Can you see Kagamimochi in Tokonoma? This room is traditional Japanese room. Kagamimochi is displayed in entrance hall besides Tokonoma. When you visit to Japanese house at the New Year, you can see Kagamimochi. Most homes decorate Kagamimochi.

Kagamimochi is made in the traditional event called Mochitsuki on December 28. The photograph above is Mochitsuki. I will introduce this Mochitsuki in another article. The home where Mochituki is done decreases every year. It won't be seen any more at a residential area in the city recentry. Shrines may hold an event of Mochitsuki.

*Photo from Wikipedia (Japanese)

Many modern Japanese people buy Kagamimochi in the plastic container in the end of the year at a supermarket, and displays it with in a plastic container, because Kagamimochi is not dirty.

As the above-mentioned, Kagamimochi are eaten on January 11th. I introduce several how to eat mochi (rice cake).

*This isn't only at Kagamibiraki on January 11th.
One traditional New Year's dish is zoni, soup containing mochi, vegetables and other ingredients such as chicken or seafood. In the Kanto region zoni is typically made with square mochi and a clear base flavored with soy sauce and salt, while in the Kansai, Shikoku, and Kyushu areas, they usually cook round mochi in soup flavored with miso, paste of soy beans. A wide variety of ingredients used for zoni are particular to the region where it's made.

Mochi is burnt on the net, and eaten with various taste, soy sauce, sugar, and soybean flour, etc. I like blend of Mattcha (powdered green tea) and sugar.

Shiruko is a sweet made with red azuki beans. You dilute some sweetened red bean paste with water, heat it, and put some grilled mochi in it and eat it as a sweety snack.

How is Japanese style of New Year? It is famous also in the world because it is peculiar very much. Unfortunately, most foreigners don't experience it. The event and the custom in Japan at the New Year are only New Years. The thing at the New Year ends in Kagamibiraki on January 11. Therefore, please spend the New Year's Eve and the New Year once in Japan. The hotel where you should stay is a Japanese style hotel though Japanese style hotel is expensive. But the landlady who put on the kimono will invite you, and You will be able to experience the New Year of Japan.
*You should stay in a Japanese hotel by two people or more. The Japanese who stays alone is very few.

Have a nice New Year!

Thank you.

Comment List

Merche 2011/01/11 (Tue) 02:56 Edit/Delete

Wow how interesting!! On spain it's typical to eat on 6th january during the celebration of "dia de reyes" (three wise men) a "roscon de reyes" (kings' ring literally translated to english).This day it's the day when children here get their christmas presents. We bought it at bakery or cake shops, the roscon hides a little figure and a faba bean. The one who founds the figure is crowned and becomes the "king" or "queen" of the banquet, whereas whoever finds the bean has to pay next year's roscón. Fortunately this year I became the queen so no worries for me! xD

On the other hand another typical thing of the "dia de reyes" it's the sweet charcoal! who looks like original charcoal hehe and it's received by the childrens as a gift if their behaviour during the year has been bad, instead the presents that they have written on the letter to the three wise men ^^U