Welcoming in the Japanese New Year with Monkeys and Surprise Bags


Happy New Year everyone!  Welcoming in the Japanese New Year with Monkeys and Surprise Bags

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We just got back from our epic Japan trip, and we wanted to share with you how we brought in the Japanese new year!

We did a few things to celebrate the new year, but one Japanese tradition is to go shopping!  Who can’t get into that?  It’s great because every store sells New Year’s bags.  These are bags full of goodies, some of which are clearly marked as to their contents and others that are a complete surprise.  We chose to buy a surprise one from a grocery store.  Check out our video below to see what we got!

Japanese Year of the Monkey!

Welcoming in the Japanese New Year with Monkeys and Surprise Bags

The Japanese celebrate the Chinese Zodiac, and 2016 is the Year of the Monkey.  We couldn’t resist visiting the Jigokudani Monkey Park outside of Nagano.  We had a wonderful time watching them bathe, eat, and play even though there were plenty of people all over as well.  Stay tuned for an upcoming post detailing all about visiting this awesome sight.

Welcoming in the Japanese New Year with Monkeys and Surprise Bags

How did you bring in the new year?



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  1. I loved your first video, Corinne! You made me want to do it too, not necessarily for my blog. My husband used to film us when our son was young, but now that he is all grown up nobody films me anymore. I think you did a great job and I’m looking forward to seeing more videos from you.

  2. Loved your video, Corinne! You seem as fun as you come across on your blog. Every year I seem to miss these bags at Takashimaya Singapore. They only sell them one day during Chinese New Year, and I really want one but I always miss it by like a day. Thanks for your reminder I’ll be keeping a keener eye out for them. Wish me luck! Also, I can’t believe how much food you got for 1000 yen in that bag. Pretty cool.

    1. Karen, Yes, after living in Asia a total of six years, that was my first bag too! Really, it was because Devon and Erika reminded me. Good luck getting one. If you do, let me know what you got. So much fun! And happy new year!

  3. That is a fun way to get into the new year for sure. Trust the Japanese to come up with a whacky shopping experience. We noticed when we were in Kyoto that sweet biscuits were a strange lot and we purchased a new packet nearly every day as Marty has a sweet tooth and there was so much packaging that there were not a lot in each packet. It certainly was fun. 🙂

  4. I’m always home for new year’s – traditions, traditions… time to try something new next year, I think. Ringing in the new year in Japan sounds fantastic.

  5. Happy New Year! Loved your video. That is a great tradition. Loved all of your reactions to the bean paste (something I hate!) Thanks for linking up. #TPThursday

  6. Interestingly (to me), in Russia they also nod to the Chinese horoscope at New Year by having a lot of themes decorations and such based on whatever is coming up next, so I am already well aware it is the year of the monkey next. Love the idea of celebrating this a at monkey park. Also love the idea of surprise shopping bags – like stockings from santa for grown ups!

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