New Year in Japan - Hatsumōde (初詣)

One of Japan’s most culturally important traditions, hatsumōde sees people visit a Shinto (or Buddhist) jingu (shrine) and otera (temple) to make a small offering and pray for good luck in the new year (Oshōgatsu). Most people tend to visit between 1–3 January when they’re off work or school, with some people even queueing on 31 December to be one of the first in line. Tokyo’s most well-known shrines and temples, Meiji Jingu and Sensō-ji, typically welcome millions of visitors in just a few days! 

As well as praying for the New Year, it’s common custom for people to draw omikuji (written fortunes) and buy omamori (amulets, or charms) to protect them over the next twelve months.  

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