Culture, Experience,

Hatsumode in Tokyo: A New Year’s visit at a Japanese shrine and temple

Happy New Year!
Thank you for always visiting our blog “Visit Minato City”! We hope you will get the chance to visit Japan one day – or are you already here?^^

Hatsumode” is the first Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple visit of the Japanese New Year. By doing this, people show their gratefulness for the past year and wish for a happy new year. Visiting a Japanese shrine or a temple during the first week of January is a special experience you shouldn’t miss!
Here are just two examples of where you could go:

Zojoji Temple

4-7-35 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Zojoji Temple at night

Zojoji Temple at night with Tokyo Tower in the background

On the night of New Year ‘s Eve, I went to Zojoji Temple near Tokyo Tower. I wanted to experience New Year’s Eve the Japanese way. I wasn’t alone. There were already thousands of people…At 0 o’clock on New Year’s Day, the temple’s bell started ringing and you could hear everyone gasping “Ohhhhhhh!!” Although there are no fireworks as in foreign countries, the atmosphere was very festive.

Zojoji Temple at night
After praying for good luck, I explored the premises of Zojoji Temple. There was a variety of food stands and even a stand where they were handing out “amazake” (hot “sweet rice wine”) for free!
People were buying lucky charms, called “omamori”. By the way, “omamori” make a great souvenir!

Akasaka Hikawa Shrine

6-10-12 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Akasaka Hikawa Shrine

At the entrance of Akasaka Hikawa Shrine

The Akasaka Hikawa Shrine, which has never been destroyed by any disasters, still retains the original features from the Edo period. Today, the shrine is designated as an important cultural asset – but more importantly: the locals love it. On New Year’s day, you will see people waiting patiently in a long queue. Everyone want’s to do their “hatsumode” visit at this shrine.

Akasaka Hikawa Shrine
On the shrine grounds, a beautiful “omikoshi” is on display. Therefore, it’s a nice place to get in touch with traditional Japanese culture. Of course, you can also draw an “omikuji”(fortune-telling paper).
By the way, I got “chukichi“, which means I’m “kind of lucky”! Well, I’ll take that!

Akasaka Hikawa Shrine

People praying for good luck

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I was born and raised in Kiel/Germany. When I was 16 I came to Japan for the first time. I fell in love with this beautiful country, so I returned after my university graduation. Since then, I have been living in Tokyo - and I don't plan to change anything about that ;-) My hobbies are taking a stroll around the city, taking photos and drinking coffee.

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