Hatsumode: Shrine and Temple Visit during New Year Holidays

meiji jingu shrine Cultural Experiences

What is Hatsumode?

In the first days of the new year, many people visit a Shinto Shrine of a Buddhist Temple. This first visit of the year is known as Hatsumōde (初詣) and is done to say thanks for last year and pray for fortune of New Year to deities. Many shrines and temples hold Hatsumode festivities during the first few days of the year, especially on January 1. At the popular shrines and temples you can experience a festive atmosphere with food stands and many people lining up for a prayer at the main hall, purchasing lucky charms for a fortunate new year and disposing their lucky charms of the past year.

5 most visited shrines and temples during Hatsumode period in Kanto region

1. Meiji Shrine (3.2 million people)
2. Kawasaki Daishi Heikenji Temple (3.1 million people)
3. Naritasan Shinshoji Temple (3 million people)
4. Senso-ji Temple (2.8 million people)
5. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (2.7 million people)

Which shrine should to visit for Hatsumode?

While many Japanese people visit a local or the nearest popular sanctuary for the first worship, some choose it depending on their wishes for the coming year or what they are thankful for from last year. It is said there are unlimited numbers of deities for Shintoism local Japanese religion. Each shrine has a unique deity. For example, deity of money, love, study, health, business and so on.

Let’s find the best shrine for you in Tokyo!

Kanda Shrine for Business Success

Kanda Shrine: HatsumodePhoto by Dick Thomas Johnson

This shrine has been worshiped from a long time, it has a long history of more than 1.300 year. One of the deities is a god of business prosperity. Many people living in  Nihombashi, Marunouchi, Tsukiji and Akihabara visit this shrine in particular.
Every year, more than 300,000 people visit the shrine during a Hatsumode period.

Kanda Shrine
2-16-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo
Access: Ochanomizu station or Akihabara station or Suehirocho station
http://www.kandamyoujin.or.jp/ (Japanese only)

Yushima Tenman-gu for Academic Success

Yushima Tenmangu shrine @ Tokyo
Photo by Guilhem Vellut

If you have important exams coming up, you should visit Yushima Tenman-gu. It is said that the god of the shrine would listen to wishes about study. In Japan, the National Test Center for university admissions usually starts around the second half of January. Therefore, many students go to the shrine and wish they will pass the exams. Their ema wishing boards are full of wishes of students. Buying a lucky charm for study would be a good present for examinees. Every year, more than 350,000 people visit the shrine as Yushima Tenman-gu.

Yushima Tenmangu
3-30-1 Yushima, Bunkyō, Tokyo
Access: Yushima station, Hirokoji station or JR Okachimachi station

 (Japanese only)

Tokyo Daijingu for Love

Tokyo Daijingu Shrine @ Iidabashi
Photo by Guilhem Vellut

The deity of this handle is said to handle all wishes that include love, therefore a popular place for single people. It is said that “if you worship to the deity of Tokyo Daijingu, you could get a boyfriend, a girlfriend or a fiancé”. Often Japanese traditional wedding ceremonies are often held in the shrine, who would not want to start of their marriage with good “love-luck”?

To increase the chances of your wishes for a happy love life coming true at Tokyo Daijingu, here is some free advice:
1. Visit early morning – When it is busy, the deity cannot concentrate on your wishes.
2. Do your wish not only at “Tokyo Daijingu” but also “Iitomi Inari Shrine”.
3. Relax at pond named “Seseragi no Ike”, this should help with anxiety and a negative mind.

Tokyo Daijingu
2-4-1 Fujimi, Chiyoda, Tokyo Japan
Access: Iidabashi station
http://www.tokyodaijingu.or.jp/english/index.html

In this blog, we introduce 3 shrines popular for Hatsumode. Each shrine has a unique story and power due to the deity of the the shrine. However, in Japan, there are deities and even more shrines. For example, god of easy delivery, traffic safety, sports and so on. If you need additional information, please comment on this blog. We would be happy to find a shrine for your wishes!

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