Posts Tagged ‘hatsumode’

My first shrine visit of the year, referred to as hatsumode (初詣) in Japanese, actually involved visits to two local shrines in Toyonaka. As always, I visited Kasuga-jinja, the shrine where I’ve been making my New Year visits since moving to Japan in 2005. Kasuga-jinja is dedicated to Amaterasu, the sun goddess, among many others, […]

2016 is the Year of the Monkey, plenty of which can be found up in the Minoh mountains, not too far from my apartment. One of the most famous monkey watching spots in the area is Minoh Falls, where the monkeys tend to come out at dusk to pick the mites out of each other’s […]

Hatsumode — the year’s first visit to a shrine or temple —  is generally celebrated in Japan between January 1st and January 3rd and typically involves making your wishes for the new year known to the kami (the shrine gods); buying new omamori (good luck charms) and burning your old ones since they’re full of […]

The Zen temples of Kamakura had seemed surprisingly uncrowded to us, so we were hopeful about the rest of our tour of Kamakura. Our plan was to visit Hachiman-gu first, and then walk over to see the Daibutsu before sunset. It was when we noticed that all side entrances to Hachiman-gu were closed off and […]

On the 31st of December the entire Crew of Eight — Tessa, Leon, Mart, Jorge, Courtney, Nancy, Dennis and myself — found ourselves in an enormous crowd, in an enormous line, at Senso-ji, Tokyo’s most famous temple. We were there for hatsumode, or the year’s first visit to a temple or a shrine, and so were at […]

For J.’s last full day in Osaka (Dec. 26) we had planned to go to Himeji-jo, but the weather was really gloomy in the morning when we woke up, and that made us pretty gloomy about the idea of spending time in an enormous, unheated, and drafty fortress. Luckily, J. decided that we should risk […]

The New Year holiday is probably one of the most important holidays in Japan and everything shuts down to give people a chance to spend time with their families and usher in the New Year. In Japan the New Year is a time of symbolic renewal, much more intensely so than in the United States. […]