Home Events - Exoteric Japan January in Japan Japanese Cultural Calendar Kagami Biraki 鏡開き かがみびらき 
A huge four layered cake of mochi at a shrine that is so old and brittle that the outside mochi is flaking off!


Jan 11 2025


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Kagami Biraki 鏡開き かがみびらき 

Time to Break that Mochi… and Barrel of Sake… and Do Some Martial Arts!

Kagami Biraki is sometimes translated as “opening of the mirror” but these days “breaking of the mochi” is probably much more appropriate. Though not as commonplace as breaking the mochi, there is definitely the breaking of the lid of a barrel of sake with a mallet. This Kagami Biraki seems to be performed for both religious reasons (barrels of sake are also offered to the gods!) and as a kind of house warming event at just about anytime. Since the eleventh is a lucky day, because it is odd numbered, the ceremonial Kagami Mochi (large balls of mochi stacked one atop each other three layers high) are broken and eaten. These mochi are placed in the family shrine through the New Year’s holidays and by the 11th of January are kind of brittle. This is also the day some martial arts dojos perform their first practice of the year.


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Photo thanks to Photozou.jp

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