How did you spend New Year’s Day 2019? In this post, we wanted to share a personal side of life in Japan and how some staff members at Real Estate Japan celebrated and what we saw on the first day of the new year. The photos below were taken by Real Estate Japan staff members, former staff members, and friends from around the country.
First Sunrise – Seen from Jonanjima Seaside Park – Tokyo
Jonanjima Seaside Park, located in Ota Ward, Tokyo is a large waterfront park with sand, grassy picnic areas, and views of planes taking off and landing at Haneda Airport. It is a popular place for people going to see the first sunrise of the year, a traditional new year’s activity called hatsuhinode.
Kiyomizu Dera (Temple) – Kyoto – First Temple Visit of the Year – Hatsumode
Kiyomizu Dera (Temple), literally “pure water temple” was founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa waterfall in the wooded hills of eastern Kyoto. It is a Buddhist temple and is one of the signature World Heritage sites in Kyoto.
Nearest station: Kiyomizu-Gojo Station on the Keihan line
In Japan, one of the most traditional activities on new year’s day is visiting a shrine or temple to pray for good luck in the new year. This is called hatsumode (初詣).
The photos below were taken by Exwin Tan, a former staff member at Real Estate Japan, who says that he rented a car in Tokyo on the night of December 30th and drove to Nara by the morning of the 31st. After getting a good night’s rest, he woke up bright and early on New Year’s day to do a round of shrine and temple visits. Thank you, Tan, for sharing your photos with us!
Fushimi Inari Shrine – Kyoto – First Temple Visit of the Year
Fushimi Inari Taisha (Shrine), the head shrine of the god Inari, is one of the most popular and most photographed shrines in Kyoto, known for its 5,000 bright orange (tori) gates that wind through the hills to Mt. Inari. Located in Fushimi Ward, in southern Kyoto.
Nearest Station: Inari Station on the Nara Line
Mihara-shi – Hiroshima – Small Town Life in Japan
Mihara-shi is a coastal city of about 97,300 people located in Hiroshima prefecture.
Here is what New Year’s Day 2019 looked like on a typical street in Mihara:
Like many cities and towns throughout Japan, Mihara has seen its population age and decline over the past few decades. Our friend who lives in Mihara describes it as a “dead town”. More and more houses are being abandoned as elderly people are not able to properly care of their homes; and as people pass away and their children do not want to return to maintain or live in their parents’ property.
Japan’s population is expected to contract by nearly a third within the next 50 years, according to the government’s latest figures, with the number of people dropping from just over 127 million in 2015 to 88 million in 2065 and further shrinking to 51 million by 2115.
This demographic shift is one of the most important socioeconomic issues facing Japan in general and the real estate sector in particular.
For more on the issue of vacant homes in Japan, please see:
- What you should know before buying a vacant house in Japan
- What to do with Tokyo’s hundreds of thousands of abandoned homes
- Gov’t plans to turn Japan’s abandoned houses into quasi-public housing
Articles on New Year in Japan: