Hatsumoude, a Japanese customs you can enjoy early in January.

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 Japanese food.


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 (), 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.


If you have any questions, please send a message on Facebook or send me an email to yukon.yagi.note@gmail.com .

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