New Year at Sengan-en
New Year is a very special event in Japan, and presents a fantastic opportunity to experience traditional culture with friends and family.
Each year at Sengan-en we have lots of amazing New Year events for all the family to enjoy, representing the best of the traditions and culture of the Kagoshima region.
Take a look at some of the events coming up over the New Year period at Sengan-en.
Free Entry Wearing Kimono
For the first three days of the New Year visitors wearing kimono will be able to get into Sengan-en for free! Join us between January 1st and 3rd to welcome in 2020 in style.
Don’t worry if you don’t own your own kimono or aren’t sure how to wear one, there are plenty of shops in Kagoshima offering rental services.
We also have a kimono rental service at Sengan-en over the New Year period, so get in touch with us if you would like to make a reservation.
Kagoshima is famous for its Oshima Tsumugi silk pongee so make sure to try a luxurious kimono made from this highly valuable craft product if you have the chance.
The head into the gardens to take some unforgettable snaps of your Japanese New Year experience.
New Year Shrine Visit and Spiritual Spot Guided Tour
Japanese people make the first visit to a Shinto shrine of the New Year in a practice called hatsumode.
Many people wear kimono to for hatsumode while wishing for good luck in the year to come.
For staff at Sengan-en hatsumode usually takes place at Tsurugane Shrine located just next to the gardens. 31 generations of the Shimadzu family, their family members, and some important retainers are enshrined there, and it is known as a particularly spiritual spot to the people of Kagoshima.
Join us for a hatsumode at Tsurugane Shrine followed by a guided tour of some of the many spiritual spots around Sengan-en.
After a guided tour and a good dose of spiritual energy you will have worked up an appetite, so the tour includes a tasting of three flavours of Jambo Mochi, a local Kagoshima specialty.
Traditional New Year Food of the Shimadzu Family
Looking for a unique and delicious cultural experience to welcome in the Japanese New Year? Spend New Year as the lords of the Shimadzu family did at our flagship restaurant Ohkatei and enjoy local Kagoshima specialty Yaki-ebi Zoni.
Zoni or Ozoni is a traditional kind of New Year soup containing mochi rice cakes. Each region across Japan has its own particular version of the dish, and even Kagoshima has several ways in which it can be made. Here at Sengan-en we use a traditional recipe passed down in the Shimadzu family, so you will truly be dining like a feudal lord.
Our head chef combines the best seasonal ingredients to make an unforgettable meal to welcome in the New Year. The zoni soup is topped with a grilled kuruma-ebi tiger prawn, its bent back representing living to an old age. The crane and turtle plates used also represent long life and are good luck symbols originally from ancient China.
The meal is also accompanied by an unusual Kagoshima dish called sake-zushi – a delicious concoction of sushi rice, vegetables, and sashimi all topped with a generous serving of sake. It’s said that one of the lords of the Shimadzu family while drunk after a party tipped his remaining sake on leftover food before passing out. The servants, not wanting to see food go to waste, decided to tuck in only to find that the combination of sushi and alcohol was delicious – who would have thought!
Yaki-ebi Zoni is one our most popular seasonal dishes and sells out very quickly, so make sure to make a reservation to avoid disappointment.
Unforgettable Cultural Experiences
New Year in Japan is one of the best times to enjoy a wide variety of cultural events alongside local Japanese people. Over the New Year period you can enjoy rice cake making and shochu tasting, taiko drumming from the Noda-go Shimadzu Taiko group, traditional samurai falconry, and many more exciting events.
Make sure to end your 2019 on a high and start your 2020 in style at Sengan-en!