New Year referred to as Oshogatsu, is an important event for Japanese. Year-end house cleaning and decorations are added to homes as a way to greet a New Year.
The New Year’s decorative pine branches, Kadomatsu, are placed on either side of the front gate like the above picture. It is believed to invite the New Year’s god, Toshigamisama.
Large circular rice cakes, Kagamimochi are offered to the god. The rice cakes have been considered a sacred food for a very long time. After the holiday season, people eat Kagamimochi to wish for a peaceful year.
A sacred Shinto rope of rice straw, Shimenawa, is put on the front door like above picture. It’s considered a barrier to separate a holy place and an unclear place.