Hojoya Ohajiki Revealed – 2016

Ohajiki are popular souvenirs of the Hojoya festival which takes place at Hakozakigu Shrine between Sep. 12 and Sep. 18. These game counters, which are handmade by Hakata doll craftsmen every year, double up as lucky charms: the name ohajiki derives from the Japanese verb haji-ku meaning “to flip” or “to repel,” so they are thought to “repel” bad luck. They are not for children to play with but for display and are made by bisque-firing the clay, using the same methods as those for creating Hakata dolls. It took months for the craftsmen to create all the items. This year, the set comprises of 25 pieces, centered around the theme of “washoku” (Japanese cuisine). The theme was chosen not only because Japanese cuisine is of great interest to many foreigners and is an excellent way to explore Japanese culture, but also because UNESCO recently registered washoku as “an intangible cultural heritage, a social custom handed down from generation to generation that expresses Japanese people’s respect for nature”. Hakata doll craftsmen and their apprentices began packing up 1,200 sets of Hojoya ohajiki in wooden boxes, along with an additional 200 framed sets, at 10 am on Aug. 17 (Wed.). A boxed set sells for ¥3,000 and a framed set for ¥10,000; they go on sale at 8 am on Sep. 12 (Mon.). Note: ohajiki are extremely popular and sell out very quickly. Those who want to purchase a set will need to line up many hours in advance.

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The images on this year’s ohajiki are:
Hakozakigu Shrine crest – 筥崎宮御神紋
Sushi – 寿司
Onigiri – おにぎり
Udon – うどん
Soba – そば
Sashimi – お刺身
Tempura – 天ぷら
Grilled fish (yakizakana) – 焼魚
Bento – お弁当
Umeboshi – 梅干し
Boiled tofu (yudofu) – 湯豆腐
Natto – 納豆
Norimaki – のり巻き
Sukiyaki – すき焼き
Mizutaki – 水炊き
Oden – おでん
Miso soup – みそ汁
Horse mackerel, cut open and cooked/dried (aji no hiraki) – アジの開き
Konnyaku – こんにゃく
Wasabi – わさび
Mochi – お餅
Kitchen knife (nakiri bocho, for cutting vegetables) – 菜切り包丁
Festive food for the New Year (osechi ryori) – おせち料理
Iron pot (okama) – お釜
Inari zushi – いなり寿司

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