Hatsumoude is one of Japanese customs you
can see early in January. Hatsumoude means the first visit to temples or
shrines. Most Japanese people visit a shrine or temple to pray that the new
year will be good, and they buy an Omikuji, which tells fortunes. It is not necessary
to pray if you believe in other religion, but you can enjoy the festival there.
You can see various street stalls which you can eat Yakisoba (焼きそば, Japanese
noodle or chow mein), Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き, Japanese
Oothapam composed of flour, cabbages, PORK etc.), Amazake (甘酒, traditional
sweet and alightly alcoholic drink made from rice), and any other traditional
On every December 31th, I go to the temple
seeing in the new year, and after 0:00am I go to pray, hearing bells (jyoya-no-kane,
除夜の鐘), drinking Amazake (甘酒), eating Mochi (餅), and drawing
Omikuji. However, you don’t necessarily do like me because at midnight of
January 1st the temperature is very low and most famous temple (e.g. Sensou-ji,
Kanda-myoujin, Yushima-tenjin etc.) is surprisingly crowded. Don’t worry. The
festival continues from January 1st to 3rd.
From December 31th to January 1st
midnight, several trains operate all night. For example, the Yamanote Line
operates every 10 minutes from 1:00am to 5:00pm, almost all of subway operates about
every 30 minutes. You can go to temples or shrines by train whenever you want.
For more detail of the midnight operation, I will post a new article later.
Every end of the year, I will visit Hie
Shrine in Akasaka at midnight. I’m looking forward to seeing mochi pounding,
which is sold as soon as it is done. There is less crowded than any other
famous temples or shrines like Senso-ji or Kanda-myoujin.
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