The theme for January in the Japan Foundation Cairo Library is “How to spend the New Year Holiday in Japan”

There are many events and festivals in Japan especially for O-shogatsu (beginning of January). There are big celebrations as it is the first month of the New Year.  O-shogatsu comes ancient Japanese beliefs before the introduction of Buddhism and Shintoism into Japan. Since the Japanese were mainly agricultural people for the long part of their history, many events were held during O-shogatsu to pray for a good harvest and to pray for ancestors’ soul to rest in peace.


Since the Japanese people are open minded in accepting foreign customs and religions, there have been considerable changes in their way of spending the New Year during recent times.  But when we see the “latest ranking for how to spend the O-shogatsu” through the internet, we find that the most common ways are in order:

1-       Pay a visit to a shrine or temple

2-       Watch the special programs or films on TV

3-      Read New Year’s card

4-      Visit relatives and friends

5-      Go shopping

6-      Go somewhere to watch the New Year’s sunrise

7-      Go on a trip

8-      Play board game and card games related to O-shogatsu

9-      Spend the time the same way as a normal holiday. Do nothing related to O-shogatsu

10-   Have a good sleep

We unexpectedly find that many people still keep the traditions of O-shogatsu.


We have prepared interesting books and exhibits at the JF Cairo Library to explain what O-shogatsu is like in Japan. The information provided might be difficult to find through the internet or social media.


The Library will be open on 16 & 30 January (Sat.)