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Asakusa Hatsumode | Time Out Tokyo

Hatsumode in Tokyo: traditional New Year visits to shrines and temples

Celebrate the New Year with a Japanese tradition by visiting a shrine or temple and pray for good fortunes

By Time Out Tokyo Editors

There are so many ways to celebrate the New Year in Tokyo. You could go for a boisterous countdown party – perhaps at the famed Shibuya Crossing – or opt for something more cultural, like spending the December 31 midnight hours at one of Tokyo's many temple or shrines, some of which even feature the traditional bell-ringing to rid visitors of their sins and troubles so that they can start 2020 fresh and anew.

One of the most popular traditional New Year traditions in Japan, hatsumode is the practice of visiting a shrine or temple throughout the New Year's holidays. On New Year's Eve, these shrines and temples open their gates in the evening and through the night to revellers wishing to make their first prayers right at midnight. So line up to be the first to pray when the clock strikes 12 – however, be warned that it can take up to an hour to reach the inner temple, so dress warmly. After you've finished your prayers, pick up an omikuji – it’ll tell your fortune for the new year and also make a great souvenir.

Looking for a countdown party instead? Here are the New Year's Eve events in Tokyo. 

More ways to celebrate New Year in Tokyo


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