Japanese Traditional New Year Food: Osechi Ryori “おせち料理”

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Japanese Traditional New Year Food: Osechi Ryori “おせち料理”


Osechi Ryori, often shortened to simply “ Osechi”, is the name of the traditional New Year’s feast of a well-prepared foods collection. These foods are shared between family members or friends who gathered for Shogatsu (Japanese New Year’s). Osechi, whether homemade or bought from the store, is often served in elegant stacking lacquer boxes called “Jubako”. The food prepared is not only beautiful but also delicious, moreover, it’s auspicious, with each item holding a special symbolic meaning.

What All of Osechi Ryori Dishes Mean?

In the beginning, Osechi was a fairly simple food – vegetables were boiled in vinegar and soy sauce – but over the centuries, more and more foods were added to the Osechi Ryori line, making it a much more complicated affair. Here are some of the most commonly found dishes in Osechi and their symbolic meaning:

Black Beans: Usually made sweet and it is represented hard work.

Datemaki: the sweet rolled omelet mixed with fish cake. The dish is supposed to represent scholarship.

Kobumaki/Konbumaki: A type of rolled kelp dish and it represents joy and happiness.

Kazunoko: Kazunoko is herring roe and it is supposed to represent fertility.

Shrimp (Ebi): A symbol of longevity as well as a symbol of renewing life.

Gobo: One of the most popular versions is as kinpira gobo, a slightly sweet gobo and carrot dish. Gobo is represented strength and stability.

Depending on the region and even the household, there are many other dishes that are also included in Osechi. Oesechi Ryori is not just a meal, it is an integral part of Japanese New Year tradition. It’s like the way you share your desire for health, prosperity, and happiness with your beloved ones.


Osechi Ryori: Japan’s Lucky and Traditional New Year’s Feast. https://livejapan.com/en/in-tokyo/in-pref-tokyo/in-tokyo_train_station/article-a0000769/

The Complete Guide to Osechi Ryori. https://allabout-japan.com/en/article/1274/