Celebrating the Holiday Season at Setsu

  • By Sirada

Christmas and New Year celebrations have been in full swing over the past few weeks at Setsu Niseko.

With the sounds of Christmas Carols and violin filling the air in the hotel lobby and Park90 wine bar, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were joyful occasions.

Whilst Christmas is not a traditional Japanese holiday, guests and staff embraced the Christmas Spirit, and had a wonderful time meeting Santa, taking photos and receiving gifts.

In the days following Christmas, the festivities shifted to Japanese New Year celebrations. The New Year is an important time in Japanese culture, with the New Year representing renewal and an opportunity to bring good fortune for the year ahead.

From the 30th of December to the 2nd of January, musicians performed live music for guests in the lobby and Park90 wine bar. The music created a fun atmosphere for enjoying a few wines at the bar, reminiscing about the year that has been. 

In Japan, it is tradition to start the year off with noodles. It is believed that eating noodles on the last day of a New Year will bring you good fortune for the year to come. As part of our New Year's Eve Celebrations, guests at Setsu indulged in some delicious duck soy ramen noodles from AFURI, as a spin on the Japanese New Year Eve noodle tradition.

On the first day of the New Year, we celebrated with a mochisuki performance from Niseko local, Tokita Masairo. The mochitsuki performance is a New Year tradition dating back over 1000 years and is also said to bring good fortune for the year ahead. Expert mochi makers put on a display of the highest skill when beating the mochi and softening the dough. This ancient dish is usually prepared over several days, with all members of the family getting involved in the process. First, the rice is soaked overnight and steamed. Mochi is made from a special type of rice called mochigome. Then the rice is ground and beaten into a dough using a wooden mallet, with two expert mochi makers working in harmony to fold and beat the dough into shape. On the day, we served a variety of mochi flavours to celebrate the New Year. The red bean flavour was particularly popular amongst guests.

Then as one of the final celebrations of Japanese New Year, we witnessed a traditional Sake Barrel Ceremony “Kagami-Biraki.” The sake ceremony involves opening the barrel of sake, and everyone enjoying a serve. Because of the lid's round shape, the kagami is a symbol of harmony. The kagami-biraki represents an opening to harmony and good fortune.

The past month has been incredible with the excitement of our Grand Opening, Christmas and New Year festivities. Thank you to everyone who joined us for the activities and events over the period. It was wonderful to share these special moments with you. 

From everyone at Setsu, we wish you a Happy New Year, and look forward to welcoming you back soon. 

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