Mitaka City

Enjoy a Showa-Style New Year at the Mitaka Picture Book House in the Astronomical Observatory Forest

shishi-mai lion dance

The house will re-create scenes of a typical New Year that were common in Japan decades ago. For example, we will be dividing the kagami-mochi round rice cake offered to the gods during the New Year days and eating it together (kagami-biraki practice), and a shishi-mai lion dance will be performed accompanied by traditional flute and drums (see photo). You can enjoy various fun events during New Year’s in Japan as well, such as spinning tops, a Seven Spring Herbs Stamp Rally, and making hagoita (battledores). Come and join the fun!

  1. Kagami-biraki and Shishi-mai Lion Dance: January 5 (Sun.), from 1:30 p.m.
  2. Grandma’s Storytelling: January 5 (Sun.), 2:00 to 2:30 p.m.
    In the Japanese-style tatami room, let’s sing children’s songs and listen to stories of long ago.
  3. Top-Spinning Expert Show: January 5 (Sun.), 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
    A top-spinning expert will demonstrate amazing techniques and teach us how to play.
  4. Seven Spring Herbs Stamp Rally: January 5 (Sun.) through 9 (Thu.), 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except for January 7 (Tue.))
    Let’s look for the seven spring herbs growing in the garden of the Mitaka Picture Book House in the Astronomical Observatory Forest. On January 6 (Mon.), 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., there will be a guided tour and a tasting party of rice porridge with the herbs.
  5. Making Hagoita: January 13 (a national holiday), from 10:00 a.m.
    You can make your own hagoita (a wooden battledore used in a New Year’s game similar to badminton) and play the game together. Capacity: twenty; fee: ¥300

Location: Mitaka Picture Book House in the Astronomical Observatory Forest (inside the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, 2-21-3 Osawa)
Application: Come to the venue directly (participation for the event number 5 above is on a first-come, first-served basis)

Inquiries: Mitaka Picture Book House in the Astronomical Observatory Forest, Tel: 0422-39-3401, closed from December 28 (Sat.), 2013, to January 4 (Sat.), 2014.

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Mitaka Municipal Office 1-1, Nozaki 1-chome, Mitaka City, 181-8555, Tokyo Tel: 0422-45-1151(Main Switchboard) How to Get Mitaka Municipal Office

Hours: Weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Closed: national holidays and during the December 29 through January 3)