Hatsumode in Akasaka, Tokyo.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Click here for the sound of New Year hatsumode at Toyokawa Inari temple, Tokyo.

Hatsumode - is the first prayer of the New Year as people all over the country flock to shrines to pray for success and health in the coming year. Shop owners and business people may visit one of the thousands of Inari shrines in Japan, which are particularly associated with financial and commercial fecundity. Toyokawa Inari, a grand, 700-year old Buddhist temple that looks like a Shinto shrine in Tokyo's Akasaka district, is a very popular destination at this time.

In the big cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya subways and commuter trains run all night to ferry the faithful to the popular shrines.

Inside Toyokawa Inari, Akasaka, Tokyo, New Year 2007.

Hatsumode usually takes places in the first three days of the new year in Japan. New omamori (lucky charms) can be bought at many shrines, such as these daruma dolls below, and old ones are often burnt at this time or later at Setsubun.

Daruma and maneki neko stall, Toyokawa Inari, Tokyo, at New Year.