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”Osechi” New Year’s Japanese food


Osechi New Year's Japanese food
”Osechi” is specially prepared New Year’s dishes to be eaten during the first three days of January.

Various kinds of beautifully prepared dishes are set in boxes.

Most dishes are cooked in order to be preserved for at least three days.

So women don’t have to cook during that period.

Each dish and ingredient in ”Osechi” has meanings, such as good health, good harvest, happiness, prosperity, long life, and so on.

I introduce some items of ”Osechi”.

<Osechi introduction>
昆布巻き Kobumaki
simmered konbu rolls. Rolled kelp with fish in it.

黒豆 Kuromame
simmered black soy beans
various beans imply a wish for good health.


栗きんとん Kurikinton
mashed sweet potato with sweet chestnuts
Literally, “Kurikinton” means “chestnut gold mash”,  symbolizing economic fortune and wealth for the new year.
It is not the same with “Kurikinton” of Wagashi(Japanese sweets).


candied dried sardines


数の子 Kazunoko
salted herring roe
It’s said that yellow coloured dishes and ingredients such as kazunoko symbolize prosperity.


伊達巻 Datemaki
sweet omelette with fish paste.
To make it using special bamboo mat.

かまぼこ Kamaboko
fish cake
Try it with a little bit of soy source.
Red/pink and white coloured food, such as pink and white kamaboko slices represent celebration colours.


海老 Ebi
Lobsters are for longevity because their bodies are bent like an old man’s.


なます Namasu
Pickled radish and carrot.
Namasu is made of radish and carrot in thin strips and pickled in sweetened vinegar with Yuzu flavour.

鯛  Tai
Sea bream
Symbolizing an auspicious event.


<Other New Year’s food>
お屠蘇 Otoso
We drink special named Japanese sake for cerebration, “Otoso”.
You can try to drink “Otoso”at shrines or temples during new year 3 days in Japan.

otoso new year  

雑煮 Zouni
Japanese eat New Year special soup “Zouni” at home.
Ingridients are vegetables, mochi(rice cake), meat fish and cake etc.
There are many types of “zouni” depending on local area in Japan.
Mochi is round shape or square shape.
Tastes of soup are different types of stocks, made of dashi(made of seaweed), dashi(made of seaweed or fish flakes) , dashi and miso or red beans etc.



Japanese sake

sake oishii japan sushi

sake oishii japan sushiSake is really interesting liquor: Sake is delicious even when it’s cold, and delicious even when it’s warm.
Sake temperature is from 5℃-55℃, wider than other liquors.
Sake is a good match drink in Japanese cuisine, especially fish and vegetable dishes.

<Special-designation sake>

You can see these main kinds of sake in the sake shops, bars and restaurants.

純米大吟醸酒 (Junmai Daiginjoshu)
Pure rice, Very Special brew(Ingredients: Rice, Kōji rice)

大吟醸酒 (Daiginjoshu)
Very Special brew (Ingredients: Rice, Kōji rice, Distilled alcohol)

純米吟醸酒 (Junmai Ginjoshu)
Pure rice, Special brew (Ingredients: Rice, Kōji rice)

吟醸酒 (Ginjoshu)
Special brew (Ingredients: Rice, Kōji rice, Distilled alcohol)

特別純米酒 (Tokubetsu Junmaishu)
Special Pure rice (Ingredients: Rice, Kōji rice)

特別本醸造酒 (Tokubetsu Honjouzoushu)
Special Genuine brew (Ingredients: Rice, Kōji rice, Distilled alcohol)

純米酒 (Junmaishu)
Pure rice (Ingredients: Rice, Kōji rice)

本醸造酒 (Honjouzoshu)
Genuine brew(Ingredients: Rice, Kōji rice, Distilled alcohol)



<Introduction of how to drink Sake>

Cold Sake(Rei shu)


Good tempreture of cold sake is 7~10℃.
It is the same tempreture with beer.
Try to keep sake glasses in the fridge!
You can enjoy the cold sake very well and easier!
About Ginjoshu’s best condition, it is 10-15℃.
Do not keep it cooler than 10℃, it could be out of taste when cooled too much.

sake bar @ Isetan Scotts B1

sake bar @ Isetan Scotts B1


Hot Sake(Kan zake)
“Kanzake” is hot sake to warm sake at 40-60℃, we call “Atsukan” which is to warm around 50℃, “Nurukan” is to warm around 40℃. When you order the sake, it depends on your favorite type.
When to warm around 60℃ it could be out of taste and also you cannot pick Sake Tokkuri(Sake bottle) up.
Making warm sake is to warm sake with micro wave.
Basically, to warm about 1 minutes for 1 Tokkuri sake(180ml).

We use “Choko” and “Tokkuri” for drinking Kanzake.
“Choco” is small cup for warm sake, you can save from drinking too much sake. That’s why, sake is also a healthy alkohol as Japanese food.

sake tool

shukan-ki to warm sake

Jo-on (Hiya)

“Jo-on” also means “Hiya” in Japanese.
“Jo-on” is not room tempreture, is to cool sake a little in Summer season and to warm sake 15-20℃ in Winter season.
Many Sake fans like to drink Sake as Jo-on.

On the rocks

It is to put bigger rocks of ice in chilled glass and pour very cold Sake(50-60ml) in the glass.
On the rocks is good for Junmaishu.
More modern style of drinking sake(For example, Daiginjo), is on the rocks by wine glass.