Of all ceremonial occasions in Japan, the new year is said to be the oldest.

In the last days of the old year, homes, offices and shops are festooned with rope garlands and kadomatsu — standing arrangements of pine, bamboo and apricot blossoms — to welcome the god of the new year. The deity is often associated with rice cultivation, ensuring that the rice harvest will be abundant and that families will enjoy good health in the coming year. Since it is traditionally believed that during the new year the god resides in rice ears, pines and ropes made from rice straw, decorations are often fashioned from those materials. On this page, stylist Tamiho Yokose and floral artists Ikuko Yamashita and Mikako Ichimura introduce their distinctive approaches to making classic new year arrangements with a contemporary twist.

Traditional materials for today