The “dust” has settled on new years celebrations and the town is returning to normal today. Yesterday many businesses downed tools and took the night off – there were no doubt many sore heads! New year’s is celebrated a little differently in Japan ‘Oshogatsu’ ( new year’s) is actually a quiet family time and the start of the new year is a chance for families to get together and have a meal much like many western cultures celebrate Christmas with big extended family lunches or dinners. Things are a little different in Niseko Hirafu with most people ready to paaaaaaarty!
Niseko Grand Hirafu held their “40th Torchlight Skiing”. This translates to skiers and boarders assembling on the Nikabe course in the dark and then on the stoke of the new year lighting torches and making the number of the new year….a sight to behold. After much cheering the brave participants ski down to the Kogen lift followed by the new year’s fireworks display.
On the outskirts of Hirafu Village the Hirafu Shrine held it’s own new year’s celebration ‘Hatsu Moude’ which translates to first shrine visit. This is a more contemplative affair where people line up to throw a coin ( make a offering ) into the shrine collection box, ring the shrine bell and make a wish for the new year. Nice.
Photos: Glen Claydon Photography