Before the New Year, lining the entrance to houses, shrines, temples, stores or restaurants, you will see displayed pairs of kadomatsu “gate pines” (門松 ). The role of kadomatsu is to act as temporary housings for the kami of the New Year, bringing prosperity and good luck for family or for business.
Kadomatsu are made of bamboo trunks symbolizing strength and prosperity, and pine twigs symbolizing long life, tied together with a rope that has the role to protect against evil spirits. Depending on the region, other elements are adorning the ensemble, such as the kale in this photo taken in Higashiyama, Kyoto.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: