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Monthly Feature Story-January 2019-The First Shrine/Temple Visit of the Year

Cultural Tips-The First Shrine/Temple Visit of the Year

Most Japanese people visit shrines and temples during the first several days of the new year. They express their gratitude to Shinto deities or Buddha and pray for good luck in the coming year. We call this tradition "hatsumode".

At popular shrines and temples, you sometimes have to stand in line for over an hour to pray at the main hall. The most popular shrine, Meiji-jingu Shrine in Tokyo, attracts over 3.2 million people during the first three days of the new year. Tsuruoka-hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura (ranked the 5th busiest shrine during the new year)has 2.5 million visitors on this holiday. It can be a good opportunity to develop some patience!

After praying, you can draw fortune slips to predict your luck for the year. Also, you can enjoy various foods at stalls lining the grounds of shrines and temples, or along walking paths.

Anyway, the New Year holiday is widely regarded as Japan's most important holiday. Why not experience this festive atmosphere?

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