Top 4 New Year's Blessing Temples in Japan
As the old year passes and the new year arrives with hopes and wishes for a year filled with luck, health, and happiness, the people of Japan take a break in the early days of the new year.
As the old year passes and the new year arrives with hopes and wishes for a year filled with luck, health, and happiness, the people of Japan take a break in the early days of the new year. They decorate their homes, enjoy traditional dishes, and follow long-standing customs, especially the tradition of visiting temples at the beginning of the year.
Japan, known for its rich cultural heritage and diverse ethnic traditions, particularly values the New Year temple visits with family to pray for peace, health, and prosperity. Let's explore four temples that the people of Japan choose to visit to make their New Year wishes come true!
1. Atsuta Jingu Shrine – Aichi
Atsuta Jingu Shrine is one of Japan's three most important Shinto shrines. Located amidst a vast forest of cedar trees covering an area of about 60,000 square meters, the shrine also houses a sacred gingko tree over 1000 years old, symbolizing good fortune.
The shrine is home to home to one of the three sacred treasures of Japan (Kusanagi no Tsurugi) Millions of visitors, especially during the New Year, come to the shrine to pray for peace and a prosperous new year.
2. Ise Jingu Shrine (Naiku) – Mie
The Ise Jingu Shrine complex consists of over 125 shrines located in the city of Ise in Mie Prefecture. It is renowned for the Inner Shrine, believed to be a gateway connecting the spiritual world of the country and its people. According to legend, people visit Ise Jingu to seek good fortune in the new year, attempting to pilgrimage to Ise at least once in their lifetime to pray for blessings and luck and express their gratitude to the divine.
3. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine – Kyoto
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is one of Japan's most famous shrines, distinguished by its more than 10,000 red-orange Torii gates lining a narrow path leading up the mountain. This iconic and spiritual site in Japan is visited by locals during the New Year with wishes for a bountiful harvest and prosperous business.
Suppose you visit Fushimi Inari Taisha. In that case, you can try lucky charm cookies sold along the path or enjoy the fox-themed lunch, including inari sushi (rice-wrapped in aburaage) and kitsune udon (udon noodles with deep-fried tofu), for good luck!
4. Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine – Fukuoka
Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is dedicated to the deity of learning, Sugawara no Michizane. People in Japan visit this shrine at the beginning of the year to seek luck in academic exams, educational progress, job hunting, and resolving difficulties.
Lucky charms are also a distinctive feature of the shrine, with lucky charms for sale, and many wooden ema plaques hung everywhere to bring good luck to students. In January, the shrine holds the "Usokae – Shinji" ceremony to exchange unfulfilled promises from the previous year with sincerity towards the deity. Visit Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine if you seek wisdom and wish for a fortunate exam season!
Photo: japonyabuyukelciligi, hitoshi_yasuhara, fumiyomomota, mahrygh