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Hatsumode: Shrines that bring you good luck in the New Year
Just as Christians go to midnight mass on Christmas eve, the Japanese ring in the new year with a first visit to a Shinto shrine, an age-old tradition called Hatsumode. The visit happens on the first 3 days in January.
At the turn of midnight January 1st, people flock to shrines to pray for their personal intentions.
When it comes to spiritual services offered, not all shrines are the same. Each has its own spiritual charisms. The Japanese believe in going to prayer intercessors that specialize in various intentions. Here are some of the shrines where Japanese families worship.
TO SUMMON GOOD LUCK IN JOBS
Just 6 minutes from Kamiyacho station, the shrine is famous for its long steep stairs also called the ‘stepping stones for career advancement’.
Nearest station: Kamiyacho by Hibiya line
FOR MARITAL BLISS AND GOOD RELATIONSHIPS
Often visited by politicians, Hie is a government-supported shrine in Japan. It is home to Tachi’, a single-edged sword and one of Japan’s National Treasure. Japanese families come here every year for the coming-of-age festival.
Nearest station: Tameike Sanno station by Ginza and Namboku lines.
TO WARD OFF EVIL OR PRAY FOR PEACE
Kawasaki Daishi Heiken Shrine (Kawasaki Daishi Heikenji)
The largest shrine in Kanagawa and 3rd in Japan, the Kawasaki Daishi Heiken attracts over 2.7 million worshippers every year year. Nearest station: Kawasaki Daishi Station by
Keikyu Daishi line
TO ENHANCE THE FLOW OF MONEY INTO YOUR LIFE
Many people queue up from 5 am here just to get their hands on the highly sought amulet in gold and silver which runs out quickly. The New Year is the perfect time to get one.
Nearest station: Waseda station by Tozai line
Nishiwaseda 2-1-11, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
TO SUMMON GOOD LUCK IN BUSINESS
Fushimi Inari Shrine (Fushimi Inari Taisha) photo by Dariusz Jemielniak
Fushimi Inari Taisha known to the Japanese as the God of rice, has become the place of worship for farmers, manufacturers and business people. It sits on the base of a mountain called Inari which is 233 metres above sea level. The shrine’s path is lined by 1,000 beautiful, red Torii gates. Nearest station: JR Nara Line Inari station from Kyoto station. http://inari.jp/en/
FOR THE SAFETY AND HAPPINESS OF FAMILIES, OR ACADEMIC SUCCESS OF CHILDREN
Meiji shrine (Meiji Jingu)
Founded in 1920 after the death of Emperor Meiji, the shrine is one of the most frequently visited places of worship by Japanese people. It attracts over 3 million visitors over a period of 3 days.The Meiji shrine which celebrates its 100th year in 2020 is surrounded by 100,000 trees called “Eternal Dream” donated and planted by the National Youth’s labor group. Nearest station: Meiji Jingumae station by Chiyoda line or Harajuku station by JR line
FOR THE FULFILLMENT OF PURPOSE AND PROTECTION FROM MISERY
Narita san Shinso-ji
A favorite destination by Shinto worshippers, Narita san Shinsoji located in the center of Narita, Chiba, is one of the most popular temples in Japan. The shrine was built in 940 in honor of Acala (immovable)wisdom king, believed to be a protective deity. Nearest station: Narita Station by JR Line or Keisei Line from Airport Terminal 2 station