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What is Osechi-ryori?

What is Osechi-ryori (1)

Osechi-ryori are traditional Japanese New Year foods which is common to all over Japan.

1. The origin of Osechi-ryori

Osechi-ryori were said to be cooked to offer to the deity on the New Year’s Eve, wishing for the good harvest and the health of the family members.

After the New Year begins, we could eat the food offering to the deities. Since the deity is thought to be in the kitchen for the first three days of the New Year, people did not used to cook on these three days and ate Osechi-ryori instead.

2. Traditional Osechi-ryori

Some of the dishes of Osechi-ryori have fortunate meanings or wishes not only that it could be kept for a long time.

Here are some of the traditional Osechi-ryori.

Boiled and seasoned shrimp

What is Osechi-ryori (4)

Since the curved shape of the shrimp looks like elderly people stooped with age, it is thought to be the symbol of longevity.

Kazunoko (herring roe)

What is Osechi-ryori (5)

It symbolizes large family and fertility.

Kuromame (black soybean)



“Mame” originally means good health, so people eat it wishing that they can live and work in good health.

Renkon (lotus root)

What is Osechi-ryori (2)


Since it has holes in it, people wish that they can see into the future.


What is Osechi-ryori (3)


Kurikinton is mashed sweet potatoes with sweetened chestnuts. The golden color is the symbol of richness, and people pray for the rich and fulfilling life. In addition, chestnuts are the representative of food of the mountains which are available all over Japan and have the meaning of success.

Osechi-ryori differ among the regions, so it may be fun to know the meaning of each dishes, and wishing good fortune by eating them.

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