Hatsumode: Shrine and Temple Visit during New Year Holidays

meiji jingu shrine Things to do in Japan

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

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!




  1. […] kimono, walking in front of the shrine. Meiji Jingu shrine is the most-visited shrine in Japan for hatsumode, more than 3 million people visit the shrine during the first few days of the new year. The gates […]

  2. […] Take East exit of Kamakura station, walk for 10 – 15 minutes and you arrive at the most important Shinto shrine in Kamakura. This shrine was founded in 1063, and enlarged and moved to its current location in 1180. On the shrine ground, there is a wide long approach leading up to the main hall which stands on a terrace at the top of a wide stairway. Two ponds can be found on either side of the approach. One pond with three islands represents the Minamoto Clan, who founded the shrine and the Kamakura Shogunate, and the other pond with four islands represents the Taira Clan, Minamoto’s bitter rivals. Every year more than 2 million people visit here for the first shrine visit of the New Year, known as hatsumode. […]

Copied title and URL