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Japan officially adopted a solar calendar in 1873 and the New Year starts on January 1, but in rural Japan villagers continue to follow the lunar calendar and Oshogatsu is the Lunar New Year.
There are many "good luck" charms associated with the New Year. Cranes and turtles are symbols of longevity and happiness. Houses are sometimes decorated with origami cranes to bring peace and happiness to the New Year.
Shinto shrines, in fact, far outnumber Sony and Mitsubishi plants. An estimated 80,000 shrines, great and small, dot rural villages as well as every Japanese city.
The Grand Shrine of Ise in south central Honshu commemorates the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami, considered the founder of the Japanese nation and ancestor of the emperor. Millions of Japanese make annual pilgrimages to Ise not only as acts of religious devotion but as expressions of patriotism and respect for the imperial family.
Japanese make pilgrimages to major Shinto shrines at important junctures in their lives.
Oshogatsu Barbie Doll
Origami Cranes Kit
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