NOW AVAILABLE! ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan

ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan now available! Reservations are available from the URL below.
Snow Tire Plan 2019

※Snow tires cannot be added as an option, and cannot be added to a reservation. Please make a reservation from the Snow Tire Plan. From November to April in Hokkaido and December to March in the Tohoku area, all cars reserved in heavy snow zones will have snow tires as standard equipment, so all available plans already have snow tires.

Winter Driving in Japan
1. Snowy areas and seasons
2. What are snow tires?
3. Driving on snowy roads
4. ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan


1. Snowy areas and seasons

Japan is long in the north and south, so depending on the region, the climate can be very different.
When you rent a car, you need to pay attention to the places and times you want to visit and reserve snow tires as necessary.

※All rental cars in areas with heavy snow consistently every year have snow tires equipped as standard, even without the snow tire plan.

■ Heavy snow zone (area where snow is heavy during the winter, snow tires are standard equipment)
Snowfall estimate: November – April (Hokkaido), December – March (other than Hokkaido)
■ Moderate snow zone (snow falls several times during winter; snow tires may be necessary)
Snowfall estimate: December – March
■ Snow zone (possibility of snowfall once or twice a year; snow tires may be necessary)
Snowfall estimate: December – March
■ No-snow zone (area where snow does not fall)
※Even in areas where it does snow much, there is a high possibility of snowfall in mountain areas where the altitude is high.


2. What are snow tires?
SnowTire

A snow tire is a type of tire that can drive without slipping on snowy roads. Since the groove of the tire is deep and the rubber is soft, it is possible to drive even on a frozen road. But don’t let your guard down! It’s like driving on ice, so you need to always be cautious of sliding.


3. Driving on snowy roads

Warning ① Don’t speed
Warning ② Accelerate slowly and calmy
Warning ③ Be careful of sliding on curves
Warning ④ Put more distance than usual between you and other cars
Warning ⑤ Only change lanes if you need to
Warning ⑥ Even if you don’t see snow, be cautious of frozen roads (black ice)

Even if snow is not piled up on the road, it reflects light.
It seems like there is no snow at first glance and it seems to be dry, but this is because the road is frozen.
Be careful because you may slide more than on snow. Slow down for curves.
To stop, you need to use the brakes considerably earlier than usual.


4. ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan 2019

Now available! Please check the link below for details and to make your reservation.

Snow Tire Plan 2019

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How to Choose a Plan with ToCoo!

ToCoo! offers a variety of unique plans designed to suit customers’ needs. However, it may be difficult to determine which of the many plans is best for you. Here, we will introduce the plans to help meet your needs.

1. If you will use a lot of expressways
2. If you prioritize safe and secure insurance coverage
3. If you want to save on hotel accommodation
4. If you want to shorten the procedure time at the rental car outlet
5. If you are concerned about driving on snowy roads
6. If you want to rent an ETC card and pocket WiFi

1. ToCoo! Expressway Pass Plan for those who will use a lot of expressways

It is a super-value plan that gives you unlimited access to expressways within the rental period. All expressways can be used within the specified range, and there is no additional charge for expressways used during the rental period. 
Using the expressway pass is very easy. To use, simply insert the ToCoo! ETC card into the on-board ETC card reader device installed in the rental car. You can drive smoothly without having to stop and pay at each ETC gate.

 

ToCoo! original unlimited flat-rate expressway pass plans
■ ToCoo! Expressway Pass (TEP) Plan
Unlimited expressway pass that covers all of Japan’s expressways
■ ToCoo! Expressway Pass (TEP) Hokkaido Plan
Unlimited expressway pass that covers all of Hokkaido’s expressways
■ ToCoo! Expressway Pass (TEP) Kyushu Plan
Unlimited expressway pass that covers all of Kyushu’s expressways

*ToCoo! Expressway Pass Advantages
① Customizable usage period, from 1-20 days
② Wide coverage. ToCoo! Expressway Pass (TEP) Kyushu covers all of Kyushu’s expressways, but similar products do not offer the same range.

If you book with ToCoo!, the below rental car company expressway passes are also available.
Hokkaido Expressway Pass Plan 
Expressway pass for Hokkaido
Kyushu Expressway Pass Plan 
Expressway pass for Kyushu (some roads are not covered)
Tohoku Expressway Pass Plan 
Expressway pass for Tohoku (some roads are not covered)

2. If you prioritize safe and secure insurance coverage

① Full Coverage Plan

If you book the Full Coverage Plan, you can rest assured that in the event of an accident, you will be exempt from paying the following required amounts.
NOC: 20,000-50,000 yen
Vehicle compensation: 50,000-100,000 yen
Property damage compensation: 50,000 yen
*In addition, towing fees (up to 100,000 yen) will be covered.

If you book the Full Coverage Plan, the cost of an accident will be 0 yen.

What is NOC?
NOC is an abbreviation for non-operation charge.
If the car needs to be repaired or cleaned due to breakdown, odor, etc., this is the amount charged to the customer as compensation to the rental car company for lost sales during that period.

What is the compensation amount?
This is the amount the customer must pay in case of an accident.

 

■Full Coverage Plan
This plan is available throughout Japan.
*Some areas may not be available depending on the rental car company.
■Budget Special (Full Coverage Plan)
This plan is exclusive to Budget Rent a Car. It is currently available for reservations in Kyushu, Sendai, and Hokkaido.

② Plan with travel insurance


This plan comes with travel insurance for foreign visitors to Japan (including all rental car passengers) and a convenient map code information service. We will compensate your medical costs if you are sick or injured while traveling. In addition to financial compensation, you can receive services such as Japanese language translation support.

 

■ToCoo! Japan Traveler Support Plan
In addition to travel insurance, this plan includes map code information service, telephone translator support service, and services that provide specified hospitals where payment for treatment is not required.

3. Recommended for those who want to save on hotel accommodation

If you make a reservation with the Free Overnight Hotel Stay Plan, the hotel fee for 1 room for 2 people for 1 night will be free.
*Hotels can be selected from the hotel list provided by ToCoo!

■Free Overnight Hotel Stay Plan
This plan is only available from Nissan Rent a Car. In order to use this plan, you must use the rental car for at least 4 days.
Hotel List

4. Recommended for those who want to reduce check-in and waiting time at the rental car outlet

During busy periods, check-in and waiting times at car rental outlets tend to be long. You may have to wait from 30 minutes to more than 1 hour. If you make a reservation with the Smart Pass Plan, you can check in online in advance, so you can greatly reduce the time required at the outlet.

■Smart Pass Plan
If you book with this plan and complete the online check-in procedure 4 days before the reserved date, you can depart immediately after a simple procedure at the special ToCoo!-only counter on the rental car start date.

5. Snow Tire Plan for those concerned about winter driving


A lot of snow falls in Japan in winter. Snow tires are standard equipment in winter where there is always a lot of snow like Hokkaido and Tohoku. Since it can still snow in the Kanto region and others, we recommend booking the Snow Tire Plan in the winter.

 

■Snow Tire Plan
This plan includes snow tires where snow tires are not standard equipment, such as the Kanto and Kyushu regions. Snow tires can only be booked from the snow tire plan and are likely to be sold out, so we recommend booking early. The Snow Tire Plan will usually be available around September.

6. Recommended for those who want to rent an ETC card and pocket WiFi router

There is a plan available exclusively from ToCoo! which includes free ETC card and pocket WiFi rental together with the rental car.

■Driving Package Plan (Free Internet + ETC card rental)
This plan includes free ETC card and pocket WiFi router rental.
*Actual used toll fees will be charged after the ETC card is returned to us.
*Pocket WiFi data usage is free.
■ToCoo! ETC Card Plan
This plan includes free ETC card rental.
*Actual used toll fees will be charged after the ETC card is returned to us.
■ ToCoo! Free Internet Plan
*Pocket WiFi data usage is free.

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Rental Car Insurance in Japan

Driving a car during travel exponentially expands the potential of your trip.
However, driving a car also comes with the risk of accidents. Recently, the data in Japan found that the accident rate for tourists was about four times that of locals.

       Tourist Rental Car Accident Trends (Okinawa)

     Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

In the event of an accident while abroad, unexpected difficulties may arise due to language barriers or unfamiliar laws and regulations. To help alleviate that anxiety, keep reading this guide!

1. Insurance and Compensation Services
  ① Basic rental car insurance
   What is the compensation fee?
  ② Compensation Coverage (CDW)
  ③ Other insurance services offered by each rental car company
2. Required fees in case of an accident
   What is NOC?
3. Why booking with ToCoo! is better

NOC, compensation coverage, CDW, etc. are frequently used terms you encounter when renting a car in Japan, but there are many people who are wondering about the details of each one. In this guide, we will discuss the specifics of rental car insurance and compensation coverage and how to select them at booking.

1. Insurance and Compensation Services


① Basic rental car insurance
All rental cars in Japan include basic insurance as below. Please note that each rental car company has different policies, so the compensation details may vary.

Example: Nissan Rent a Car insurance system

Personal Injury  Unlimited coverage for each person (including vehicle liability insurance up to 30,000,000 yen)
*Compensation for injury of a third party
Property Damage Compensation 20,000,000 yen per accident (compensation fee: 50,000 yen
*Compensation for damage to a third party’s car, utility pole, building, etc.
*Customer responsible for 50,000 yen compensation fee
Vehicle Compensation Actual cash value of the vehicle (compensation fee: 50,000 yen), but micro bus, truck, other specific types of car  will have a compensation fee of 100,000 yen
*Compensation for damage to the rental car
*Customer responsible for 50,000~100,000 yen compensation fee
Passenger Compensation Maximum 30,000,000 yen per person
*Compensation for injury, death, or long-term side effects to passengers (including driver) due to accidents while in the car

※Customers are liable for all damages incurred which either exceed the insurance coverage amount or are exempt from coverage.


■ What is the compensation fee?
This is the amount that the customer must pay in the event of an accident which is covered by the basic insurance.


② Compensation Coverage  (CDW)
CDW is an abbreviation for collision damage waiver.
If you purchase compensation coverage, the car rental company will cover the compensation fee you would normally have to pay. In other words, you would not have to pay the above 50,000 yen for property damage compensation and 50,000 to 100,000 yen for vehicle compensation.

*Even if you purchase compensation coverage, all coverage will be voided unless you immediately contact the police.
*Even small scratches that don’t stand out are considered accidents in Japan, so you must report them to the police. In Japan, the definition for accidents includes lightly brushing a wall or the car getting scratched due to negligence when parking.


③ Other insurance services offered by each rental car company
The following add-on services may be recommended when you pick up the car at the outlet.
*However, please be aware that all ToCoo! reservations already include NOC payment coverage and towing fee coverage service of up to 100,000 yen, so please be careful not to purchase overlapping services.

Rental Car Company Insurance Service Details
Nissan Rent a Car NOC Support Plan NOC payment coverage
Nissan Anshin Support Plan (NAS) Roadside service, etc.
Nippon Rent a Car Extra Coverage Option (ECO) NOC payment coverage
Safety Course Roadside service, etc.
Times Car Rental Super Safety Package NOC payment coverage and roadside service
Toyota Rent a Car Double Protection Package NOC payment coverage and tire trouble
Budget Rent a Car Safety Pack NOC payment coverage, on-board accessory damage compensation, and tire trouble

*The above chart is for reference only, and the services may be changed by the rental car company. Check with your car rental company for more information and terms.

2. Required fees in case of an accident

In the event of an accident, the following amounts usually need to be paid at the rental car outlet.

Compensation fee: 50,000~150,000 yen 
    & 
NOC: 20,000~50,000 yen


■ What is NOC?
NOC is an abbreviation for non-operation charge.
If the rental car needs to be repaired or cleaned due to a breakdown, damage, odor, etc., this is the amount charged by the rental car company as compensation for lost sales during that period.

When the vehicle is returned to the originally planned office by itself 20,000 yen
Other situations 50,000 yen

*The NOC amount may vary depending on the rental car company.


3. Why booking with ToCoo! is better

All ToCoo! reservations include ToCoo! Additional Support (T.A.S.), which covers Non-Operation Charge (N.O.C.) and up to 100,000 yen in towing fees.
※ T.A.S. is mandatory for all ToCoo! reservations. It is an exclusive service.
If you book with ToCoo! and purchase compensation coverage, you will have to pay 0 yen in case of an accident.
ToCoo! also offers full coverage plans that include compensation coverage, so please choose it when you make your reservation.

Summary
✔ T.A.S. which covers NOC and towing fees is automatically included in all ToCoo! reservations
✔ If you purchase the rental car company’s compensation coverage, the fee for an accident will be 0 yen
✔ Rental car companies also offer their own compensation services, but beware of duplicate services

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Luggage Space Information

Are you trying to figure out what car class would be best for your trip? Use the examples and photos below for your reference! The numbers listed below are maximum, but of course, if you have fewer passengers, you would be able to fit more luggage, even using the extra seats. Finally, please note that since ToCoo! only offers car class reservations, it is not possible to reserve a specific car model.

Important Notes
※Remember to count 1.5 seats for your child seat if you will be traveling with children. For details, please check the Child Seat page.
※A valid International Driving Permit is required to drive any car in Japan. For details, please check the International License page.

Car ClassMax. PassengersMax. Luggage
660cc42~3
Compact52~3
Standard52~3
Station Wagon53~4
SUV53~4
Minivan83~4
Others2~92~4

660cc

Recommended for those traveling on a budget. Because it is a small car, this car class is very fuel efficient. However, it may feel a little cramped for some.

Nissan Dayz

Photo Gallery

Compact

The compact class is a bit larger than the 660 cc class, but it will still probably feel cramped if you have 5 passengers.

Nissan March

Photo Gallery

Nissan Note

Photo Gallery

Nissan Cube

Photo Gallery

Standard

Recommended for both business and leisure. Since the interior is more spacious than the compact, it is considered to be a comfortable class.

Nissan Latio

Photo Gallery

Station Wagon

In general, the station wagon class has a large trunk, so it’s recommended for those with a lot of luggage.

Nissan Wingroad

Photo Gallery

SUV

The SUV class is especially recommended for outdoor activities, like camping, skiing, and surfing. Some SUV models also offer 4WD, so it’s especially good for these types of activities.

Nissan X-Trail

Photo Gallery

Minivan

Recommended for large groups or travelers traveling with lots of luggage. If there are 6 passengers, the minivan will typically fit about 6 pieces of luggage. Please note that when all 8 seats are being used, the luggage space will be quite small.

Nissan Elgrand

Photo Gallery

Nissan Serena

Photo Gallery

Luxury/Sports Car

Luxury and sports car rentals tend to have spacious interiors, and usually, the trunk space is larger than regular car classes as well. There are also some two-seater sports cars which are great for enjoying the drive itself, but not much luggage can fit in a sports car.

Van

Recommended for large groups or people with lots of luggage. However, please note that snow tires cannot be installed on the Hiace models. Also, 10-seater vans (including the driver) require a special International Driving Permit. Please check the International Driving Permit page for details. This type of car has very small luggage space when all the seats are in use, so we recommend to book 2 cars (i.e., 2 minivans) if you have a lot of people and a lot of luggage.

Suitcase Sizing:

 HeightWidthDepthUnit
White Suitcase (Large)725030cm
Gray Suitcase (Large)715028cm
Silver Suitcase (Medium)684526cm
Silver Suitcase (Small)554020cm
Blue Suitcase (Small)554020cm

※The above images were taken in June 2019. Please note that the trunk space may vary by make, model, and year.

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COMING SOON! ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan 2019-2020

ToCoo! is getting our Snow Tire Plan for 2019-2020 ready.
 We will start accepting reservations for the plan in the
middle of September.

※Snow tires cannot be added as an option, and cannot be added to a reservation. Please make a reservation from the Snow Tire Plan. From November to April in Hokkaido and December to March in the Tohoku area, all cars reserved in heavy snow zones will have snow tires as standard equipment, so all available plans already have snow tires.

Winter Driving in Japan
1. Snowy areas and seasons
2. What are snow tires?
3. Driving on snowy roads
4. ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan


1. Snowy areas and seasons

Japan is long in the north and south, so depending on the region, the climate can be very different.
When you rent a car, you need to pay attention to the places and times you want to visit and reserve snow tires as necessary.

※All rental cars in areas with heavy snow consistently every year have snow tires equipped as standard, even without the snow tire plan.

■ Heavy snow zone (area where snow is heavy during the winter, snow tires are standard equipment)
Snowfall estimate: November – April (Hokkaido), December – March (other than Hokkaido)
■ Moderate snow zone (snow falls several times during winter; snow tires may be necessary)
Snowfall estimate: December – March
■ Snow zone (possibility of snowfall once or twice a year; snow tires may be necessary)
Snowfall estimate: December – March
■ No-snow zone (area where snow does not fall)
※Even in areas where it does snow much, there is a high possibility of snowfall in mountain areas where the altitude is high.

SnowTire


2. What are snow tires?
A snow tire is a type of tire that can drive without slipping on snowy roads. Since the groove of the tire is deep and the rubber is soft, it is possible to drive even on a frozen road. But don’t let your guard down! It’s like driving on ice, so you need to always be cautious of sliding.


3. Driving on snowy roads
Warning ① Don’t speed
Warning ② Accelerate slowly and calmly
Warning ③ Be careful of sliding on curves
Warning ④ Put more distance than usual between you and other cars
Warning ⑤ Only change lanes if you need to
Warning ⑥ Even if you don’t see snow, be cautious of frozen roads (black ice)

Even if snow is not piled up on the road, it reflects light.
It seems like there is no snow at first glance and it seems to be dry, but this is because the road is frozen.
Be careful because you may slide more than on snow. Slow down for curves.
To stop, you need to use the brakes considerably earlier than usual.


4. ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan 2019-2020

Coming Soon!

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Being Prepared for a Natural Disaster in Japan

When you are driving in Japan, do you know what to do if there’s an earthquake or sudden heavy rain?

Here are some tips to keep in mind when driving in Japan in order to be prepared in case of a natural disaster.

1. Earthquake

■ If an earthquake happens when you’re driving
If an earthquake starts while you’re driving, turn on the hazard/emergency lights and check the condition of nearby cars and pedestrians, then move your car to the shoulder and stop.
If you brake suddenly, you could get hit from behind, so gradually reduce your speed before stopping if possible.
Please wait in the car without getting out until the earthquake subsides, then check the earthquake information, damage, etc, from your mobile phone or app.

■ If you get out of the car and evacuate
If there is a tsunami warning issued or the road is damaged and you cannot continue, turn off the engine, close the windows, leave the car key in the ignition and do NOT lock the doors, and proceed to safety.
When you leave the key in the ignition, emergency personnel will be able to move the car if it’s blocking emergency vehicles.

■ When evacuating with the car
It’s very dangerous to move the car when there is an earthquake because there might be congestion, damage to the road, or debris blocking the way. Therefore, please stop the car in a safe place and walk to evacuate.
If there are no buildings nearby and you must evacuate by car, drive very carefully and pay close attention to road conditions because traffic lights and signals may no longer be operational due to power failures.

2. Sudden Heavy Rain

■ If you encounter heavy rain while driving
If it’s raining very hard, stop driving and park in a safe place and wait for the rain to stop.

■ Avoid underpasses
Underpasses are made by digging down from the surrounding road, such as underground roads passing under railways or highways.
During heavy rain, underpasses are dangerous because they can be easily flooded by several meters of water. During heavy rainfall, never attempt to drive into a flooded area.

■ “I think I can make it” driving is extremely dangerous
It’s extremely dangerous to think that you can drive through flooded roads, even if you think it’s shallow. Even a small amount of water can sweep away a car.
If you do drive into a flooded area, it’s possible that cars in front of you will become unable to move and the water level will increase, meaning that you will be stuck.
Avoid driving through any area that has standing water.

3. Heavy Snow

■ If you get stuck on a snow road
If your tires slip on fresh slow and you get stuck, slowly move the car back and forth to stiffen the snow around the tires.
If there’s a sand box on the side of the road, sprinkle some sand around the drive wheel.

■ If you can’t move because of heavy snow
In whiteout conditions such as snowstorms, please turn on the hazard/emergency lights and and safely stop the vehicle.
Since the exhaust pipe might become blocked by snow, there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, so please remove the snow from the exhaust pipe while you’re waiting for assistance.

4. If Water Gets Into The Car

It’s important to stay calm even if the car engine stops in a flooded area and water gets into the car.
First, remove the seatbelt, open the door, and evacuate. If the water is too high and the door won’t open, evacuate from the window. If the window won’t open, break the side window and evacuate (don’t try to break the sturdy windshield glass).

5. Car Fire

If a fire breaks out while driving, turn on the hazard lights to notify the cars around you that an emergency has occurred.
Next, stop the car on the side of the road and call the 119 emergency phone number from your mobile phone. If you can, try to extinguish the fire as long as you are not exposing yourself to danger.
Depending on the strength of the fire, you may be able to extinguish the flame by choking it with a jacket or water.

6. Safety Information Card – Useful Tool for Tourists Visiting Japan

This tool from the Japan Tourism Agency summarizes information about disaster preparedness, including useful websites and apps, so that tourists can enjoy a safe trip with peace of mind, even in case of a natural disaster. Please use it by all means.

Safety Information Card – 観光庁

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ToCoo! Affliate Partners Wanted

Introduce ToCoo! Car Rental on your site!
ToCoo! Car Rental is looking for affiliate partners to introduce our rental car reservation service on your site.
It’s totally free to become an affiliate partner, so you can earn commission without any risks. Please take this opportunity to participate!
*In addition, there is a limit on the number of partners for each target country in order to protect current contract partners, so there may be cases where registration is refused. If you are interested, please submit your application as soon as possible.


1. Please put a link to ToCoo! on your site.
2. Users access ToCoo! from your site via the link and book a rental car.
3. We will pay you the affiliate fee according to the reservation amount.


■About the Affiliate Program
1) Participation requirements
The following websites cannot participate.
・ Adult-only/Pornographic websites
・ Organized crime websites
・ Sites infringing on portrait rights and copyright
・ Sites that mislead visitors to our official site or that have such risks
・ Other sites that do not meet our standards

2) Participation Fee
Participation is totally free.

3) About Affiliate Commission
The basic affiliate fee is 3% of the basic rental fee.
The actual amount will be finalized after the rental car is used.
The affiliate fee will be paid according to the reservation amount.
Compensation coverage fee, option fees, drop-off fees and T.A.S. are excluded from the commission amount.
In some cases, the commission amount may be increased depending the size of the site.

Example: 30 reservations per month
Basic rental car fee: 9,000 yen/day (average)
Usage days: 5 days (average 5.2 days)
Commission: 9,000 yen × 5 days × 3% = 1,350 yen per reservation × 30 reservations = 40,500 yen per month

4) Commission Amount
We will pay the commission fee when the total commission amount exceeds 2,000 yen.
Example: if the monthly total for January’s reservations is 6,000 yen, the total 6,000 yen will be paid in February.
Example: if the monthly total for February is 1,000 yen and the monthly total for March is 3,000 yen, we will pay 4,000 yen in April.

5) Payment Method
We will remit the money to you via direct bank transfer.
If you use to use a different payment method, we will discuss it separately by email correspondance.

■How to Apply
Please fill in the following information and send it to us at the email address below.
Email address: rc-cs@coocom.co.jp
*Email title: ToCoo! Affiliate Program Participation Application
Please put the below information in your email.
・ Name of person in charge:[      ]
・ Corporate name (if any):[      ]
・ Media service name (if any):[      ]
・ Email address of the person in charge:[      ]
・ Address (used when sending gifts, etc.)
Media platform
・ Homepage URL:[      ]
・ Facebook account:[      ]
・ Instagram account:[      ]
・ Twitter account:[      ]

After receiving your application, we will contact you within a few business days after reviewing the information. We appreciate your patience.

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Throw Beans, Get Luck! Japanese Holiday “Setsubun”

Setsubun, or “節分” in Japanese, means the parting of the seasons. Every time the season changes, it’s called Setsubun, but the new year starts in spring according to the lunar calendar, so the most important Setsbun is in spring. It’s said that evil comes out at the turn of the season, so it’s very important to protect against it with a new milestone every year.

This year, Setsubun will be celebrated on Sunday, February 3, 2019. So, what do you actually do for Setsubun?

1. Bean throwing
2. Ehomaki sushi
3. Decorations
4. Summary


1. Bean throwing
On Setsubun, we throw beans while saying “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi,” which means “Devils are outside, luck is inside.” This tradition is called “mame maki,” where “mame” means beans (think edamame) and “maki” means throw. When you do mame maki, you are driving evil out of the house and attracting good luck into the house. Sometimes, the father of the house will dress up as the devil and children will throw their beans at him!

After you finish throwing the beans, you also have to eat some – but not off the ground! You have to eat as many beans as your age so you will get good luck and good health in the coming year.


2. Ehomaki (恵方巻)
You have to eat ehomaki during Setsubun to get good luck, too! Ehomaki means “lucky direction” sushi, and it must have at least 7 ingredients of different colors. This is because you must eat ehomaki while facing this year’s lucky direction, and you are not allowed to speak until you have finished eating the whole roll. You have to stay silent and make your wish for the new year, because luck will escape if you talk. By the way, the lucky direction this year is east by northeast! There are also some people who believe that you should close your eyes while eating, and there are even some who believe you’ll get the best luck if you laugh while eating! During Setsubun season, you can buy ehomaki at convenience stores, supermarkets, and fancy department stores too, so try it out! There are some very interesting flavors, such as all seafood ehomaki and even tonkatsu ehomaki!


3. Decorations
To protect your house, there are some people who put the heads of sardines and decorations of holly on the entrance of their homes so that demons won’t gather. If you say this outside someone’s house, you might be disinclined to go in, too!


4. Summary
Customs and traditions vary depending on the region, but Setsubun is an event where parents can become demons, children can throw beans with delight, and the whole family can play and eat together. If you come to Japan during Setsubun, why not try experiencing the unique mame maki and ehomaki?

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Japanese New Year

In Japan, the time period of January is called “o-shou-ga-tsu, Oshougatsu in Japan is an event for the family, much like Chinese New Year.  Most Japanese people will be at home with their families come together to celebrate the New Year.

  • The o-souji (house cleaning)
  • New Year’s Decorations
  • nengajo (New Year’s cards)
  • Huge bellsand toshikoshi soba” (year-crossing soba)
  • Events and customs

■The o-souji (house cleaning)

The o-souji ritual used to start on December. It has a practical and a spiritual significance. This major house cleaning is thought as a ritual to give a pleasant welcome to God on New Year’s Day.They will associate a big annual clean with spring, in Japan it’s done in the last days of the year – pretty much everywhere. Homes, schools and offices all get a thorough going over that creates a clean slate for the year ahead.

■New Year’s Decorations

After finish the house cleaning, it will start to decorate their houses with special decorations on December 28th and 30th. Please be carefully they would not do it on December 29th because that is apparently also not a good day to put up decorations because the number nine has the same sound as “suffer” (ku 苦) in Japanese, so it is also considered to be bad luck.

Let’s get to know the different Japanese new year decorations!

Kadomatsu

Kadomatsu are placed in  pairs in front of the gate or front doors of homes to welcome the Shinto gods.

Shime-Kazari

Shimekazari will put it on top of the house entrance to prevent bad spirits from entering and to invite the Shinto deity, to descend and visit.

A round rice-cake

Japanese people will  and place these at very visible places around their homes for decoration. Placing them in different rooms is said to bring more luck, as each room will welcome Shinto gods come and stay.

■nengajo (New Year’s cards)

People say ”あけましておめでとうございます(akemashite omedetou (gozaimasu)” which is meaning congratulations on the new year. They will  send New Year’s cards called ”nengajo ”to their family or someone treated well by.  Although with the growth of the Internet and cell phones, the number of people who send nengajo is decreasing yearly,  The receiver can know your feeling during you hand writing. However, do not send the New Year’s cards to anyone who has had a death in the family during the year.

■Huge bellbsound and toshikoshi soba” (year-crossing soba)


New Year’s Eve is called “Oomisoka” in Japanese. At Buddhist temples, huge bells are hit 108 times during midnight to get rid of all evil desires. Most people believe that huge bells are hit 108 times during midnight to get rid of all evil desires. So that we will eat the “toshikoshi soba” when we hearing the huge bells sounds and wish for a long lasting life. You can still listen the huge bells sounds even while you’re staying at home  because you can see it at the TV shows.

■Events and customs

The first sunrise

 

It is an event to worship the first sun rising on New Year’s Day, which is the beginning of the year since it is believed that the Shinto gods of the year appear with the first sunrise. So, people pray for good luck when the first sun rises.

First visiting to the Shrine

At the beginning of the year, people go to the shrine and pray for the safety and happiness of the new year. Some people leave their home to visit the shrine on the night of the 31st, or at the midnight, and some people just go there in the morning on January 1st or afternoon. Shrines are very crowded at this time of year. The money which you can put into the wooden box for good luck is well known as the more money you put into it, the more luck you will get. On the other hands, some people believe if you put 5 Yen, it is super lucky. Since the pronunciation of 5 Yen which is ‘go en’ sounds similar to the word ‘ご縁(go en)’ which means luck.

Osechi dish

It is a celebration meal that Japanese people have between January 1st and 3rd. Japanese people believe that Osechi dishes bring good luck in the sense of celebration. It is filled with grilled, boiled and pickled foods in a multitiered Japanese food box. It is made up of dishes which could be preserved longer time so that it  can allow housewives who are busy with cooking take a rest around some days at the New Year.

Otoshidama

Originally, this began with the custom to give some left over rice cakes to children. but today it has become an event for adults to give money to children. It’s a small bag of money that children receive from their parents, grandfathers, grandmothers and relatives.

Kagami-mochi

 

You should eat Kagami-mochi which were offered to the Shinto gods after some days from the New Year day!  People cut this rice cakes and put them into some red bean soup or Ozoni which is Dashi soup(Soup types and other ingredients might be changed up to the location.). They eat this praying for keeping good health of the new year. People eat this mostly on January 11th or 20th.

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일본의 크리스마스

매년 12월은 전 세계가 크리스마스를 축하하는 시즌인데요. 일본도 예외는 아니랍니다.
혹시 일본의 크리스마스 문화에 대해 아시나요? 일본만의 형태로 변화해온 흥미로운 크리스마스 문화, 이번 포스팅에서 소개드리고자 합니다.
  • 프라이드 치킨과 크리스마스 케이크
  • 누구와 함께
  • 25일 밤이 지나면

 

프라이드 치킨과 크리스마스 케이크

미국등에서는 크리스마스 저녁식사라 하면 칠면조나 햄 등의 통구이로 알려져있지만, 일본에서 크리스마스에 가장 사랑받는 요리는 프라이드 치킨이라해도 과언이 아니랍니다. 칠면조를 쉽게 구할 수 없었던 일본에서 칠면조를 대체한 것이 바로 이 치킨인데요. 일본의 크리스마스 시즌엔 프라이드치킨 수요가 급증하여, 켄터키 프라이드 치킨 등 패스트푸드나 음식점에서는 12월이 시작됨과 동시에 예약 접수를 시작한다고 해요. 편의점이나 슈퍼에서도 프라이드 치킨이나 로스트 치킨이 빽빽히 진열되어 있어 독특한 크리스마스 분위기를 엿볼 수 있답니다.

크리스마스 케이크를 먹는 것은 한국과 비슷하게 일본에서도 기본이라 여겨진답니다.  크리스마스 분위기를 연출하기 위해 산타 데코레이션 등 화려한 장식의 케이크를 보실 수 있습니다.( 참고로! 25일 저녁이 되면 크리스마스 케이크의 재고처리를 위해 반값 세일도 열리니, 그 시간대를 노려 싸게 구매하는 것도 절약의 팁이라면 팁입니다.)

일본에서 먹는 크리스마스 케이크의 발상은 1922년 양과자 메이커 “후지야”의 캐치프레이즈로 거슬러 올라갑니다. “크리스마스엔 케이크를 먹자”라는 캐치프레이즈와 함께, 생크림으로 데코된 케이크를 발매한 후지야. 당시, 케이크는 고급음식으로 일반 서민들은  접근하기 힘든 음식이었는데요.  1970년대 이후에는 서민들이 크리스마스 케이크를 먹는 것이 보편화 되었답니다. 현재 크리스마스 케이크로 가장 많이 볼 수 있는 것은 생크림 딸기 케이크지만, 그 외에도 다양한 맛과 데코의 케이크를 보실 수 있습니다.

 

누구와 함께

크리스마스가 되면, 일본에서는 가족보다 연인과 데이트하며 로맨틱한 분위기로 보내는 경우가 많습니다. 일본인들에게 크리스마스와 발렌타인데이는 연인들을 위한 2대 이벤트로 자리잡고 있답니다. 아이들에게는 산타클로스가 착한 아이에게 선물을 가져다 준다는 날로 알려져있는게 일본에서도 같다고 하네요.

 

 

25일 밤이 지나면

즐거웠던 크리스마스는 12월25일의 밤이 지나면 언제 그랬냐는 듯 끝나버립니다. 가게의 진열과 크리스마스 장식품들은 25일의 폐점을 끝으로 일제히 모습을 감추고, 26일에는 바로 새해모드로 들어갑니다. 집에서도 물론, 장식된 크리스마스 트리가 정리되고 새해 문앞에 새우는 일본의 소나무 장식 ‘카도마츠로 꾸며진답니다.

 

 

끝내며

기존 크리스마스 문화에 일본 전통적 관습을 도입해나가면서 독자적인 문화를 진화 시켜온 일본의 크리스마스. 이젠 일본의 독자적인 크리스마스 문화로 정착된 것 같네요. 12월이 되면 서양의 크리스마스 캐롤 뿐만아니라, 일본만의 크리스마스 캐롤이 들려오고, 방송에서도 크리스마스를 테마로 한 에피소드를 방영하는 것 등을 보면 말이죠.

겨울에 일본을 찾으신다면, 일본만의 ‘메리 크리스마스’를 즐겨 보시는건 어떨까요?

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