January 06, 2008

Hatsumode at Hikawa Shrine

In the early part of the New Year, many Japanese people go to a shrine for what is called hatsumode, which is the first visit of the year. They use the occasion to pray for good things in the coming year and also buy an omikuji, which is a small slip of paper with your year's fortune written on it. I went to Hikawa Shrine, duly paid my 100 yen and tried my luck. Some will say it's fate, cynics will say it's like a raffle, but for my 100 yen I pulled out a chu-kichi slip, which means fate has a fairly good year in store for me.
This shrine features this ring of rope and by walking through this three times, you are supposed to ward off evil and stay healthy for the year.

2008 is the Year of the Rat.People tie ema (wooden tablets on which they write their hopes and wishes) or omikuji at a particular place in the shrine's grounds.

Lanterns at the entrance to the shrine at night.

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