Traditional Japanese New Year Decoration, Kagami mochi.
Kagami mochi 「鏡餅」 is a special traditional Japanese decoration for the New Year, usually displayed inside the house in the kamidana, for Toshigami, the god of the new year, to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year.
Kagami mochi is made from two rice cakes (mochi) of different sizes, the smaller placed over the larger one, and a daidai, a Japanese type of bitter orange placed on top. In some versions, the mochi are placed on a konbu sheet, a symbol of pleasure and joy.
The kagami mochi is kept until the beginning of January when, on 11th, (or on the second Saturday or Sunday from January) a Shinto ritual named Kagami Biraki (the opening of the mirror) takes place, the first important ritual after the New Year. Then, the kagami mochi is broken, with the hand or with a hammer, into edible-size pieces and it is cooked.
Traditional Japanese New Year Game, Fuku warai.
New Year in Japan would not be complete without the game of ふくわらい, which is a bit like pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey.
Blindfolded players have an outline of a face with no features on the floor in front of them. The object of the game is to place paper cutouts in the shape of the eyes, nose, and mouth on the face.
This game became popular late in the Edo period (1603-1868), and people began playing it as a New Year's game during the Taisho era (1912-1926). Until around 1960, people, mostly children, played this game at home. Originally, only one style of face was used in this game: the comical, round face of a woman. But over the years, other faces, reflecting the times in which they were created, came into use as well: popular actors, comic-book heroes, and so on.