Gantan (New Years Day)
January 1st—New Years Day is arguably the important holiday in Japan. People flock to shrines and usher in the new year with prayer. At the shrine people play a karuta , a game in which participants dressed on Heian period costume slap cards with poetic verses on them. At Shimogamojinja shrine men kick around ball in a game called kemari. During the Shigyoshiki New Year ceremony geiko and maiko appear wearing hair ornaments made of rice plants and formal black kimonos with patterns at the bottom.