Hatsumode [First Shrine Visit of the Year]

This being our second New Year celebration in Japan, we decided to partake in the Japanese tradition, Hatsumodethe first shrine (or temple) visit of the year to pray for good fortune, health and safety to the new year.

On New Year's Day, we went to Meiji Jingu Shrine in Yoyogi. According to the National Police Agency, Meiji Jingu attracts the most visitorsover 3 millionover the first 3 days of the year. Although it took about two hours for us to reach the shrine, it was a great experience for us.

Torii (Shrine Gate) by the JR Harajuku Station. There's a crowd, but this doesn't look untypical. We've visited Meiji Jingu several times over the past year, and I don't think there was a time when it wasn't busy.

Kazaridaru, decoration sake barrels.

After we passed the second torii, we came to a halt. Here we are at the back of the line.

Lanterns with the light still out.

Lanterns at dusk.

Do you remember seeing the first picture with us at the back of the line? Well, when you reach the front, it turns to the right. So we still have a way to go before we make it to the main shrine building.

Third torii is within vision.

Yes, we're almost there!

I find practically everything here interesting.

Waiting to enter.

Walking underneath the entrance.

Still waiting as part of large group to move towards the front to make our personal prayers.

It was a bit crazy. Many people didn't even wait to walk up to the front as they were throwing their coins over about at least 6 rows of people. After we thew our coins, we bowed twice, clapped our hands twice, made a wish, and then made a final bow.
It seemed appropriate afterward to purchase an ema, a wooden tablet, so that we could write our wishes (or prayers). We hung it along with the others.

We hope everyone has a new year filled with prosperity, good health, and happiness!

Meiji Jingu ShrineAddress: 1-1 Yoyogi Kamizono-cho, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo, Japan 151-8857
Website: http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/english/index.html

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