End of year big cleaning?! 年末大掃除

Dec 30, 2022


It is almost the end of 2022. In Japan, we do nenmatsu-osoji (big cleaning) in the latter half of December despite the busy time of year. Id like to share 1)the history, 2)the physical effect and 3) the mental effect of nenmatsu-osoji. I hope this article helps your culture learning.


1)When there was no electricity and gas, people used irori (hearth)and kamado (stove) for cooking. Therefore, people had to remove the soot in the past. The traditional event called 'susu-harai (removing soot)' is still seen at Shinto shrines on 13th of December. During the Edo Period, ordinary people also started doing nenmatsu-osojiat their homes.


2) Today, its common to do nenmatsu-osoji at the office and your home for the latter half of December. People normally clean the parts you did not clean daily, such as wiping the cupboards, the walls, the windows and coating the floor. In my house, the cat often damages the shoji (paper sliding door) and it is a good time to renew the paper.


3) You also feel mentally good because you can start the new year with a refreshed mind after removing dirt from this year. You can separate the old and new things by cleaning them all at this time. Thus, people often buy new furniture, appliances and shoes and get a haircut at a hair salon before new year. I buy a new notebook.


When I was a child, my family cleaned the house (which provided us safety this one year) together. We feel our appreciation for the house as a part of our life even more when we clean it. What do you think about 'nenmatsu-osoji


Thank you very much for reading my articles this year. I hope it was helpful for you to broaden your views. Happy new year.

輝いて‐Enrich your life

Mineko Arai

Managing Director

Arai Academy of Japanese Studies



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