Washing out the Old

Just before New Year’s Eve, on December 28th, we did one of our final activities for the year. We cleaned the great public bath here at Dai-Ichi Takimotokan. Some people will have seen stories about this on television and in the newspaper, but it is such a special activity for us that we wanted to share news of it once more.

All of our employees gather to help with this project, and it is our way of giving thanks for the natural blessing of the hot water that filled our bath each day of this past year. Everyone gathers with a brush in hand to clean and polish and prepare for the New Year. Although, everyone looks cool and comfortable in the photos, the inside of the bath of is very humid and we are all covered with sweat in the blink of an eye. It certainly makes us appreciate the staff who do this every day!

Finally, when all was tidied and polished, we hung the Shimenawa, a rope made of rice straw used in sacred rituals and symbolizes purification, in thanks and prayer for hot water through the whole of this next year.

We also added some new decorations to our lobby. The above photo is a traditional decoration for the New Year – a Kagami mochi. The two rice cakes are said to represent the old and new years, and a mikan is placed on top. Sometimes a small sheet of konbu (seaweed) is added, too. This decoration is believed to have begun in the 14th century and takes its name from a copper mirror common at that time. The carpenter here at Dai-Ichi Takimotokan made this one, and we think it is a perfect spot for a photo.

Thanks again to everyone for reading our blog and for all of your support this past year. We are grateful and hope to see many of you here with us to help celebrate our 160th anniversary this year. We wish you all the best for the New Year!

Dai-ichi Takimotokan, Noboribetsu-onsen, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido, Japan 059-0595
Tel. +81-143-84-2111

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