Tag Archives: hatsumode

A New Year in Japan – Hatsumode

Hatsumode is a tradition on New Year’s in Japan. It’s the first visit to a temple or shrine in the new year. We went to Wakoin, a temple in Saitama city to visit a grave.

Here’s the main gate of the temple.

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And the main hall of the temple.

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I didn’t take a picture of the cemetery, since that would be considered rude. This is probably the biggest tradition on New Year’s Day. Some people do it at midnight. Temples and shrines are typically quite busy after midnight, and some have thousands or hundreds if thousands if visitors in the first three or four days of the year. Wakoin wasn’t very busy.

One more update for today.

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A New Year Live Blog

I’m going to try something a bit different this New Year. A kind of live blog where I tell you some of the highlights of our New Year adventure.

Like last year, we plan to see the sun rise at Enoshima early in the morning of January 1st. Then we’ll head up to my wife’s family’s for the big family gathering. Expect pictures of a sunrise (if it’s not cloudy), a train called Romance Car, and plenty of food and drink. I want to do this mostly for my family to see what our New Year is like, because they’ve never experienced a Japanese New Year. It’s the biggest holiday of the year here.  It’s also our last one in Japan. I want to show some great memories.

Who’s interested?

A New Year at the Beach

Today, we went to the beach to watch the sunrise.  However, it was cloudy over the eastern horizon.  While we didn’t get to see the sunrise, we did get to see Mt. Fuji turn pink.  We also did hatsumode, or the first shrine or temple visit in the new year.  We did that on Enoshima.  After that, we walked all the way home, more than 11 km.  Below is just a preview of the photos.  I’ll be posting all of the photos on my Japan blog later.

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Mt. Fuji turning pink from the sunrise.
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Incredibly crowded! This is at the base of the hill. We had to go all the way to the top.
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A look back at Enoshima from the beach.

I’ll also be posting some 2014 in review posts, as well as the month in review post for December.  These will come later after I get a little bit of sleep.  I didn’t get much!