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!
Hard to pronounce the name “Hatsumode”
Hatsumōde with a kanji is 初詣（はつもうで）.
If you see 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 new year season in Japan.
Shinto Shrines? Or Buddhist Temples?
The Japanese people basically don’t follow the religion, but when it comes to the “event”, they really move fast. They make a long long line from the last night to get a chance to ring a bell, which is said to be one of the lucky prayer. They wait for their turn at least one hour under the cold tempreture.
It is customary to visit a shrine or temple for the New Year’s prayer within “Matsunouchi” time which ends on January the 7th.