Hatsumode, Hachiman Jinja, Irumagawa.

Posted By yonghow on January 5th, 2014

The otherwise peaceful Hachiman Jinja in Iruma, Saitama was on New Year’s Day morning thronged with locals who seemed have appeared out of nowhere in unison. A long, snaking queue stretching all the way down the steep steps had congregated by the time we arrived just past midnight.

And the purpose of this arduous late night outing – the Hatsumode – is to toll the giant bell at the central altar, making well wishes for the new year.

The next step is to purchase an Omamori (charm/amulet) and often also an Omikuji (a written oracle – see this older post) from the shrine shop. Ok, it’s also a great chance to ogle at the fashionably dressed Mikos (Shinto maidens).

A small bonfire was also blazing on at the back of the shrine, which is for burning the Omamori from the previous year. It’s also a great place to warm up from the chill of the winter night, about 2-3 degrees I think.

The Hatsumode goes on for the first 3 days of the New Year – the shrine was still packed with visitors when I passed by it on the way to the station in the morning.

Posted in Japan, Photography, Travel

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