With a new year comes the feeling of a fresh start, and many people use this as an opportunity to set some goals or resolutions for the coming 12 months. This guide covers some of the most common New Year's resolutions, and how you can work towards achieving them in Japan!

Dedicating more time to self-care

In today's modern hustle-and-bustle world, finding downtime to enjoy some self-care can be difficult - hence why it's a popular resolution people make! One of the most traditional options for self-care in Japan is soaking your worries away in an onsen, and there are plenty of them across the country to choose from. Many onsen are purported to have a host of health benefits, from helping with skin conditions through to relieving muscle aches and pains.

Tamatsukuri Onsen in Matsue, Shimane
Tamatsukuri Onsen in Matsue, Shimane (Photo: 663highland/CC By SA 3.0)

Better financial success

They say that money can't buy happiness, but it can certainly alleviate a lot of life's stress. If one of your resolutions involves having greater success with money this year, why not start it off by visiting a shrine said to provide luck in the financial realm? Kamakura's Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine attracts visitors from far and wide, courtesy of the spring water inside a cave here. Legend says that if you wash your money in the spring water, it'll double - and it doesn't hurt to try!

2 Chome-25-16 Sasuke, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0017

Zeniarai-Benten Shrine, Kamakura
Zeniarai-Benten Shrine, Kamakura (Photo: Fraxinus2/ CC By SA 4.0)

Working out more

Physical activity has a host of wonderful benefits, including protecting against various illnesses and ensuring a solid night's sleep. If one of your goals is to move more in the new year, why not incorporate it into your exploration of Japan when travel normalizes? Getting around on two wheels is a fun way of seeing the sights from a different vantage point (the Japan Travel Bike service is handy for this!), or if running is more your jam there are lots of great routes right in the heart of Tokyo!

Get a workout and explore at the same time!
Get a workout and explore at the same time! (Photo: Mariamichelle/ Public Domain)

Eating healthier

Goodbye french fries, hello Okinawan sweet potatoes! Okinawa is often regarded as one of the healthiest places on the planet, and the prefecture has one of the world's highest life expectancies. Much of this is attributed to the regional cuisine here, which includes the likes of the aforementioned sweet potato, goya (bitter melon), pork, and fish. Superfoods and Omega-3's sounds like the way to go!

Purple sweet potatoes are a superfood - and a popular part of Okinawan cuisine
Purple sweet potatoes are a superfood - and a popular part of Okinawan cuisine (Photo: auntmasako/Public Domain)

Learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby

Personal growth is another prominent feature on lists of New Year's resolutions, and this often comes in the form of taking up a new hobby or learning a new skill. There are numerous places across Japan where you can take part in hands-on arts and crafts, from pottery experiences in Hagi to Kamakurabori wood carving in Kanagawa Prefecture. If nothing else, it certainly provides a new appreciation for the artisans who hone their skills at these crafts for a lifetime.

Learn a new skill through Japanese handicrafts!
Learn a new skill through Japanese handicrafts!