Monday, January 2, 2012

A general congratulatory palace visit

People's visit to the Palace in 2008

People's visit to the Palace
 in 2008

A general congratulatory palace visit is held in the Imperial Palace on January 2nd. The Emperor and the imperial family wave to the people standing on a balcony five times.

photo by 無料写真素材提供サイト ~ぶらり東京探訪~

Senso-ji Temple(浅草寺) on New Year's Day in 2010

Many people visit Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples during the New Year's holidays after the midnight of New Year's Day.

Senso-ji Temple(浅草寺) on New Year's Day in 2010

photos by 東京デート

first shrine visit of New Year
at  Nagata Jinja Shrine(長田神社), Hyogo

When drawing a sacred lot called omikuji(お御籤) to learn my fortune for the year, I have drawn a Super Unlucky fortune at Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine (鶴岡八幡宮) in Kamakura before! I was at the critical age for a woman and was in an accident the next year.

first shrine visit of New Year
at Kitano Tenman Jinja Shrine(北野天満神社), Hyogo

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu is famous(notorious?) for giving much more Super Unlucky fortunes frequently than other shrines and temples. English omikuji are available at an automatic vending machine for dispensing omikuji at the shrine.

first shrine visit of New Year
at Ako Oishi Jinja Shrine(赤穂大石神社), Hyogo

It seems that there are no Super Unlucky fortunes in most shrines and temples. At Senso-ji Temple(浅草寺) in Asakusa, visitors never receive Super Unlucky fortunes.

first shrine visit of New Year
at Himeji Gokoku Jinja Shrine(姫路護国神社), Hyogo

Kazuto Ioka, the current WBC minimumweight champion, drew omikuji(sacred lot) at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine(住吉大社) in Osaka after retaining his title again. His lot predicted Super Unlucky(大凶, dai-kyo), but he is not disappointed.

Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine(住吉神社), Hyogo

Because he became a world-champion boxer after receiving Super Unlucky fortune at the shrine last year.

New Year's prayer by a shrine maiden at Ikuta Jinja Shrine(生田神社), Hyogo

Minatogawa Jinja Srhine(湊川神社), Hyogo

A visitor draw a wooden stick with a number on it from the hole of a hexagonal wooden box, tell a shrine maiden that number and receive a fortune written on a strip of paper from her.

photos by 神戸観光壁紙写真集

Visitors tie their fortunes onto the branches of nearby trees at shrines in the hope that a good fortune will come true or a bad fortune will be kept away.

photo by:kaori(

 hamaya at Ikuta Jinja Shrine(生田神社), Hyogo

Sacred arrows(破魔矢, hamaya) to exorcise evil spirits are sold in many Shinto shrines.

sake barrels at Hirota Jinja Shrine(廣田神社), Hyogo

People offer sake to the gods.

photos by 神戸観光壁紙写真集

tea chests filled with gifts

 January 2nd is the first business day of the year for most department stores and many retailers.

Many retailers offer deluxe gifts to shoppers in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. This custom dates back to the Edo Period, over 300 years ago.
An old established tea store offers Japanese tea chests filled with gifts.

仙臺写眞館-Sendai photo gallery-
photo by City of Sendai

traditional kites

Hanetsuki(game like badminton), kite-flying and spinning top are examples of traditional New Year games.

spinning top

lion dance

photos by KSNET

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