Hatsumode - Visiting Temples or Shrines on New Year’s Day
Do you know that more than 10 million of Japanese people visit temples or shrines on New Year’s Day to pray for happiness for the coming year? This is called Hatsumode. Let’s check what it really means, and which temples or shrines are popular to visit!
Hatsumōde written in kanji is 初詣（はつもうで）.
If we look at the meaning of the kanji one by one:
初（はつ）Hatsu means FIRST
詣（もうで）Moude means VISIT A TEMPLE
So, as a whole, Hatsumōde means the first visit to a temple or a shrine during the new year season in Japan.
Shinto Shrines? Or Buddhist Temples?
Japanese people generally don’t follow the religion, but when it comes to the “event”, they really move fast. They make a long long line from the night of Near Year's Eve to get a chance to ring the bell, which is said to bring good luck. They wait for their turn for at least one hour in the cold!
It is customary to visit a shrine or temple for the New Year’s prayer within “Matsunouchi” period which ends on January 7th.