New Year’s Visit at Kanda Myojin Shrine
- By ishikura update
Hatsumode is a traditional Japanese event in which people visit a shrine on either the first, second, or third day of the year, in gratitude for the new year and wishing for a full year of peace and safety. Most people are off from work from the 29th of December to the 3rd of January. Other traditional parts of the new year holiday include cleaning the home in preparation, gathering with family and friends, and exchanging gifts.
Kanda Myojin Shrine is one of the more popular shrines, located in Akihabara. It gathers visitors from all over the world and has a 1300-year-old history as enshrining gods of marriage, prosperous business, and averting bad luck. Kanda Matsuri (Kanda Festival) is held in early to mid May every year, and has been one of the three largest festivals since the Edo era, along with Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri and Osaka’s Tenjin Matsuri. Kanda Myojin Shrine is also popular among young people because of its collaboration with an anime, Love Live!
When I visited Kanda Myojin Shrine, it was on the first weekend of the year, and many worshipers waited in a long queue that went outside of the gate. It was packed with visitors on the premises as well.
While waiting in line, men wearing the masks of Daikoku sama – the god of great darkness – and Ebisu sama – the god of fisherman and luck – stood by while people threw money into the offertory box and prayed for their blessing.
The shrine office offers a variety of paper fortunes, ema (wooden plaque), and charms throughout the year, and they are popular charms for bringing luck and warding off bad luck.
If you drop by Akihabara, why not visit Kanda Myojin Shrine?
Kanda Myojin Shrine
Address: 2-16-2 SotoKanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan 102-0021