Hatsumoude – A Japanese New Year Tradition

May 15, 2017

by Miyabi Saeki, Shiho Tojo, Sakina Nishitsuji

Hatsumode is a Japanese tradition of visiting a shrine or temple for the first time at the start of a new year. Hatsumode is a very important custom for Japanese people because it gives them a chance to pray for happiness in the upcoming year with their family members. People pray for the sake of their health, studies, pregnancies, traffic safety, love, and various other things. For this reason, many people go to the shrine on New Years Day, so it is always very crowded at that time. At larger, more popular shrines, vendors of different types also put up stands on the shrine grounds or even outside the shrine. The whole atmosphere is like that of a festival.


History of Hatsumode

Originally hatsumode was called toshikomori, and was a time for people to stay in their houses from the night of December 31st to morning of January 1st. This custom was meant to give people happiness by giving them a chance to meet Toshikamisama, or the God of the New Year. Toshikomori changed to hatsumode about 100 years ago, during the middle of the Meiji period. Many years ago, there was little in the way of transportation, so people could not so easily get to a shrine. These days, however, trains run almost non-stop, so people can easily get to the shrine and pray for happiness.

Hatsumode Customs

There are three main customs related to hatsumode that all Japanese people carry out during their New Years visit to the shrine: washing hands, praying to the gods, and drawing a fortune slip.

Washing Hands

When praying for good fortune, people follow a number of steps in order. The very first things people do is wash their hands. This is important because they need to enter the shrine symbolically clean. Here is how to do it:

1. Grab the ladle with your right hand and scoop water out of the basin with it;
2. Use this water to rinse your left hand;
3. Repeat the above steps with the opposite hands;
4. Grasp the ladle with your right hand again and pour the water into your left hand to rinse the mouth;
5. Still holding the ladle in the right hand, scoop water to rinse the left hand again, leaving some water in the ladle;
6. Rinse the ladle using the excess water. To do this, tilt the ladle upwards until the water pours out from the scoop and over the shaft.

Praying to the Gods

After people wash their hands, they walk to the main hall. That is where the saisenbako is, a large wooden box. In front of the saisenbako is a large bell with a rope hanging from it. Everyone stands in front of the saisenbako. Then, they pray to the gods for good luck. The way to pray is as follows:

1. Grab the rope and ring the bell. This is to wake up the god of the shrine.
2. Toss a coin into the saisenbako. Five yen coins are commonly used for this.
3. Bow to the shrine twice.
4. Clap hands twice in front of the saisenbako.
5. Pray for wishes.
6. Bow once, and then walk away from the saisenbako.

Omikuji – The Fortune Slip

In addition to praying to the gods, visitors also draw a fortune slip, called omikuji. These can be purchased at the shrine, often for around one hundred yen. Each omikuji represents different levels of luck for the year: very good luck, good luck, OK luck, bad luck, extremely bad luck and so on. Omikuji also tells you your fortune in specific areas of your life, such as health, romance, money, and education. After reading the fortune, most people hold onto it.


Famous Hatsumode Locales

There are many shrines for hatsumode in Kyoto. Each one has a unique series of gods and spirits representing different energies.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

Located in Kamigyouku, Kitano-Tenmangu shrine is famous for the god of studies. Therefore, many students go there to pray. However, not everyone prays for their studies; some people go there to pray for their good health or other purposes.


Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is one of the most famous shrines in Japan, and is in Fushimiku. This shrine is dedicated to the god of business, so if you are one of the many businesspeople visiting Japan, we recommend that you go there. Fushimi Inari Shrine has some famous structures. There are the hundreds of torii, or tall red gates, to walk through, each donated by a different Japanese business. The building made from hinoki, or Japanese cypress trees, is the main shrine and is an important cultural property. It was refurbished in 1499. Also, there is a tower gate painted in red, which was made by the contribution of Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1589. Hideyoshi Toyotomi was a famous Japanese politician who helped to unify Japan during the Sengoku period.

There are two events at Fushimi Inari Shrine for New Year’s Holiday on December 31st and January 1st. December 31st is when the Oharae ceremony is held. It is an event that cleanses people of the sins they committed in the second half of the year, to try to enable them to spend the New Year without impurity. Next is the Saitan festival on January 1st. At the event, people pray for safety and prosperity from the god of Inari Shrine.

Heian-jingu Shrine

Heian Jingu is probably the most famous and iconic shrine of Kyoto. It is in Sakyouku. It was built to memorialize the peaceful removal of the Japan’s capital of 1100 years. Kyoto was laid wasted by war at end of Edo period. So this shrine was built by enthusiasm of Kyoto’s citizens. It is one of the main locations of the famous Jidai Matsuri, which is held in October each year. There is also a Japanese garden and a shrine garden around the main shrine. The total area of the gardens is about 30,000 square meters. Cherry blossoms and irises bloom there during certain times of the year.

Heian Jingu is dedicated to the emperors Kanmu and Koumei. Praying there is supposed to improve your fortune. During hatsumode, many people pray for business prosperity, good luck, sending away evil spirits, matchmaking, and the success in school. New Year’s ceremony is held on January 1st, at 6 o’clock.

Shimogamo Jinja Shrine

This shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto, and also in Sakyouku. It contains two shrines within: the East and West shrines. Each shrine has its own separate god, the two of them being husband and wife. Shimogamo Jinja is also known for its magnificent cherry blossoms, autumn leaves, and its fresh greenery. The famous Aoi Matsuri festival is held at Shimogamo Jinja each year on May 15th. At Hatsumode, many people come to pray at this shrine for good luck in marriage and having kids.


As you can see, there are many kinds of shrines in Kyoto. So before you go to Hatsumode, you should choose which shrine is suitable for you. From the last day of the year to the second day of January, Kyoto city buses and the subway remain in business during the night at no additional fee. You can go to Hatsumode as soon as the New Year begins, but at that time the shrines are always very crowded every year. If you don’t want to go when it is crowded, you should try going to a shrine from 3 a.m to 5 a.m., when there are fewer people.

Enjoy your New Year’s in Kyoto.

Fushimi: History and Tourist Attractions

by Hayato Tochimori and Yuta Sakurai

Recently the number of tourists from other countries to Kyoto has been increasing. There are many good tourist attractions in Kyoto, like The Golden Pavilion, Kiyomizu Temple, Arashiyama, and so on. However, have you ever heard a place called Fushimi? We can get to Fushimi by train within only 15 minutes from Kyoto station. It is mostly famous for the Fushimiinari Taisha shrine. However, Fushimi also has a very interesting history and a number of other tourist attractions worth visiting.

History of Fushimi

One of surprising facts about Fushimi is that it was a capital of Japan in the Azuchi Momoyama era, which was from 1573 to 1615. A top shogun, which means a leader in Japan at that time was Hideyoshi, and he made his castle in Fushimi. From Fushimi, it was possible to see Nara which is an ancient capital, Kyoto city, Osaka in which he has his private castle. It was very useful for him to check what was happening around the capital, and he loved this place.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimiinari Taisha shrine is chosen as the place where the tourists from other countries want to visit the most. This shrine is the head one of over 30,000 shrines related to this shrine.  This shrine was built in 711.  Inaritaizin, the god enshrined there, is the deity of fertility, business, and safety of family.  There are a lot of Shinto shrine gate called Torii. It is said that there are over 1,000 Torii in Fushimiinari Taisha shrine, and it is very famous scenery.  Actually, it is very popular spot in Kyoto.  I am going to introduce three more good tourist attractions and goods.


The term nihonshu means Japanese alcohol, or sake. Fushimi is famous for its production of good quality sake. The reason is because of the superb water in Fushimi, which is near the point at which three big rivers in Kyoto meet: the Kamo river, the Uji river and the Katsura river. Also, spring water from Momoyama-Kyuryo, a mountain in Fushimi, is very clear. Excellent water is necessary for making a good nihonshu, and Fushimi has it. Therefore, the culture of nihonshu developed in Fushimi before the Azuchi-Momoyama era.  When Hideyoshi turned Fushimi into a castle town in the Azuchi-Momoyama era, the nihonshu industry began to develop further and flourish.  Moreover, in Edo period (1603~1867), Fushimi was center of traffic because it had nice roads and three rivers joined there.  Therefore, the demand of products including Nihonsyu increased so much at that time that the culture of Nihonsyu flourished more and more.

For this reason, there are many shuzou (sake breweries) in Fushimi. One of the most famous producers of nihonshu in Fushimi is Gekkeikan, which also has a sake museum. The museum was originally built in 1909. There, we can learn about the history and culture of nihonshu, as well as how to make it. Originally the museum building was a shuzou, but it was remodeled as the museum in 1987.

400 traditional tools to make nihonshu are exhibited in the museum, and we can also study the process of making nihonshu. Moreover, at the end of the museum tour, we can taste three different types of nihonshu made by Gekkeikan. The entrance fee is just 300 yen, so it is not expensive. If you like drinking sake, you should definitely pay the traditional Gekkeikan Sake Museum a visit.


Gekkeikan Sake Museum

Access to Gekkeikan Sake Museum

Access to Gekkeikan Sake Museum

Access to Gekkeikan Sake Museum

Traditional Sweets

Fushimi is not only famous for its sake, but also its traditional sweets. One famous traditional sweet in Japan is called neri-yokan, which you can buy in just about any convenience store these days. What many people don’t know is that neri-yokan was originally made in a very traditional Japanese sweet shop in Fushimi, called Surugaya-Honpo, which was founded in 1461. Long ago,normal yokan  could not be preserved, so it could not develop in popularity. But Surugaya-Honpo improved this by using agar. The yokan made with an agar is called neri-yokan.

This sweets culture in Fushimi is also related to Hideyoshi. He held some meetings in Fushimi in the old days for a number of daimyo (regional leaders) from different places in Japan. Hideyoshi liked neri-yokan so much that he gave each daimyo neri-yokan as a present during the banquets or tea ceremonies. The daimyo took a liking to neri-yokan and eventually brought it back to their region and made it popular. If you have time, please visit Surugaya-Honpo and taste this traditional Japanese sweet.



Access to Surugaya-Honpo

Access to Surugaya honpo

Access to Surugaya honpo

Jonangu Shrine

Of course, everyone knows about the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine, but not as many people know about Jonangu Shrine, which is located to the west of the Kintetsu Takeda train station. This shrine was built to protect Kyoto when the capital of Japan was transferred to Kyoto  in 794. A deity of Hoyoke, which is protection from misfortunes coming from a certain destination, is enshrined in the shrine. Also, the deity of warding off evil is enshrined there. Today Japanese people visit Jonangu Shrine and pray for safe construction, travel, commuting, business or moving to a new house in Hoyoke.

For some people, these deities can provide road safety and safe travels. There was a port of Toba in the place of Jonan. The deity of this shrine had always kept an eye on people who travel by ship and Gissha (The oxen-drawn carriage). To this day, the place of Jonan is a point where arterial roads and motorways intersect.

People who hope for road safety visit Jonangu Shrine for purification and prayer. It is possible for you to receive purification of your car at the shrine. Japanese sweets and matcha (powdered green tea) are served at the tea ceremony room to prayers of Hoyoke warding off evil and purifying your car. How about praying for your safety during your trip to Kyoto or other places in Japan in this shrine?

There are five flower gardens related to the Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji) in Jonangu Shrine. Approximately 80 kinds of flowers that are described in the tale are planted in the gardens. You can see drooping cherry blossoms and wisteria in the spring, Chinese lanterns and lotuses in the summer, boneset and maple leaves in the autumn, and camellia in the winter. The admission fee is 600 yen for adults and 400 yen for primary and secondary school students, so this is affordable. If you add 300 yen to the admission fee, Japanese sweets and matcha are served to you in the tea ceremony room. We recommend you visit the beautiful gardens.

Jonangu Shrine

Jonangu Shrine

Access to Jonangu Shrine

Access to Jonangu Shrine

Access to Jonangu Shrine


Of course, when most people hear the word Fushimi, they immediately think of the Fushimiinari Taisha shrine, which is truly amazing. However, it is not the only thing that the Fushimi district of Kyoto has to offer. As you can see, there are other wonderful tourist spots, sweets, and drinks to be experienced. Again, the entire region is only 15 minutes by train from Kyoto station. If you have an opportunity to visit Fushimi, please consider visiting it. You will not be disappointed.

El Fushimi Inari-Taisha

El Fushimi Inari-Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) es el principal santuario sintoísta dedicado al espíritu de Inari, y está en Fushimi-ku, es un distrito de Kioto, Japón. El santuario se encuentra situado en la base de una montaña también conocida como ¨Inari¨. Inari es el dios del arroz y por consiguiente el patrón de los comerciantes, ya que en la antigüedad se asociaba tener una buena cosecha de arroz con tener prosperidad en los negocios.Hay miles de torii (una estructura que normarmente marca la entrada a un santuario) a lo largo de un camino de cuatro kilómetros, un camino muy famoso que es visitado por muchas persomas.


Lo bueno de este santuario es que siempre está abierto y entrar es totalmente gratis. El Fushimi – Inari está perfectamente comunicado con Kioto, ya que está a cinco minutos andando desde la estación de Fushimi inari de Keihan, y a tres minutos de la estación inari de la línea JR de Nara.



by Manami Otahara & Miki Sawai

Our travel dairy: Fukakusa’s loves story


We visited Fukakusa to see Fushimi-inari shrine. It is very famous shrine, so people visited to there from around the world. People visit to see many Torii. Torii separates gods and humans. Torii looks like shrine gate made of wood, the color is bright red. Fushimi-inari shrine is the main shrine of all the inari shrines in Japan. Other Famous place is Fuji-no-mori shrine, it has to with Japanese emperor Tenno.   This shrine is famous Ajisai festival and the god is known for having luck in games, so people visit this shrine. When we visited this shrine, we saw may beautiful Ajisai. Ajisai is one of the flower in summer. Next place was main the temple for this trip. This temple is Gonjo-ji temple. Gonjo-ji temple is has to with our report.

Fukakusa’s love story


The place we visited is called Fukakusa. It is called Fukakusa because a long time ago, a person named Shosho-Fukakusa lived there. He loved Onono Komachi. She was most beautiful woman in Japan in Heian period. He loved her, but she didn’t love him, so she got an idea. The idea was very simple, he met her every night for 100 days. Her house and his house were far away. The distance was about 7 km, but he would like her to be his wife, so he met her every night. First day, second day, 97th day 98th day 99th day, he met her with peanuts. On the 100th night, she waited for him. However, didn’t come. That day he died because of heavy snow. The next day she found out that he died. She was very sad, so she was planted his nuts in her village. Later the nut grew and the tree is believed to be 1,000 years old.

Gonjo-ji temple


Gonjo-ji temple is a very important place. This is where Fukakusa lived.   There is a pond and this pond is where he looked at himself. There is a big Buddha in this temple, and Fukakusa and Komachi are buried here. Her house was in Yamashina. Yamashina is a town on the border of Kyoto and Shiga, so her house and his house were far away. However when she heard that he died, she was very sad. Therefore when she died, she was buried in this temple.


Fushimi-inari shrine

68 Fukakusa Yabunouchi-cho, Fushimi-ku Kyoto

Fuji-no-mori shrine

609 Fukakusatoriizakicho, Fushimi-ku Kyoto


1038 nishimasuyacho, Fushimi-ku Kyoto

Santuários Kitano Tenmangu, Fushimi Inari-Taisha e Jishu-Jinja

by Shota Furumoto, Shota Ueji, Torakichi Inoue

Kitano Tenman-gu

Construído no ano 947, Kitano Tenmangu é um santuário xintoísta, dedicado ao famoso poeta e político do Período Heian, Sugawara no Michizane. Em 986, Michizane foi santificado, tendo-lhe sido conferido o título de “Tenjin”.
Em Kitano Tenman-gu há muitas “ume”, as ameixeiras japonesas, que eram a árvore preferida de Sugawara no Michizane.

Todos os anos, no dia 25 de fevereiro, aqui se realiza o “Festival da Ameixeira em flor”, que coincide com a realização de um mercado. Milhares de pessoas vêm a este santuário, que é muito popular entre os estudantes, que aqui vêm pedir boa sorte nos seus estudos. Afinal, Sugawara no Michizane era um famoso académico.

Autocarro / Ônibus nº50, que sai da Estação de Quioto.
Endereço: 602-8386 Kyoto-shi, Kamigyo-ku, Bakuro-cho, Kitanotenmangushamusho

Fushimi Inari-Taisha

Fushimi Inari-Taisha é o santuário principal de Inari, no bairro de Fushimi-ku, em Quioto. A sua construção decorreu entre os anos 708 e 715. Inari era uma divindade muito popular entre os mercadores e comerciantes. Diz-se que há entre trinta e quarenta mil santuários dedicados a Inari Inari em todo o Japão, a sua maioria divididos por Fushimi-Inari Taisha.

Muito comuns nas redondezas dos Santuários de Inari, as raposas eram vistas como mensageiras. Diz-se que traziam na boca a chave dos celeiros de arroz. Por isso, Inari-shin é considerada a divindade da agricultura, com benefícios não só para a agricultura, mas também para o comércio, negócio, etc.

Palco de cenas de alguns filmes americanos, nos últimos anos, Fushimi Inari-Taisha tornou-se muito popular entre os turistas estrangeiros. Durante os dias da semana, há mais estrangeiros do que japoneses a visitar este Santuário.

Por comboio / trem, estação de Inari, da linha Nara do JR. Em alternativa, pode sair na Estação de Fushimi-inari da Linha Keihan.
Por autocarro / ônibus, sair em Fushimi-inari-taisha-mae.
Endereço: 68 Fukakusa, Yabunouchi-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto
Telefone: 075-641-7331
Homepage: http://inari.jp/


Quioto é um dos mais famosos lugares turísticos do mundo. Entre os seus inúmeros santuários encontra-se o Jishu-Jinja, situado no lado norte do Templo Kiyomizu-dera.

A divindade deste santuário é Okuninushi. Jishu-Jinja é famoso entre as senhoras mais jovens, pois diz-se que dá boa sorte para o casamento. Segundo a lenda, quem conseguir fazer um caminho de cerca de dezoito metros entre duas pedras, com os olhos fechados, o seu desejo amoroso será realizado.

Juntamente com o Templo Kiyomizu-dera, o Santuário Jishu-Jinja foi classificado como Património Mundial da Humanidade pela UNESCO, em 1994.


Tomar o autocarro/ônibus número 207 em Kawaramachi e sair em Jishu-Jinja (o bilhete custa 230 ienes).
Também pode tomar os autocarros/ônibus número 100 ou 206 na Estação de Quioto e sair em Gojo-zaka.
Telefone: 075-541-2097
Endereço: 1-317, Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 605-0862
Horário : 9:00-17:00

Santuário Fushimi Inari

by Tomoe Tsukada; Kanako Takahashi; Nami Yamada

1 O que é Nô?

Eu estou aprendendo o teatro nô no clube da universidade e gostaria de apresentar alguns lugares famosos de Quioto que têm relação com esse teatro. O que é o Nô?
É um musical tradicional do Japão. Tomou a forma presente entre os séculos XV e XVI. Até hoje, esta forma não mudou quase nada. A dança, a canção, as roupas, as máscaras são iguais às de 500 anos atrás.

2 O Nô e o santuário Fushimi inari

Existe uma peça de Nô que tem relação com o santuário xintoísta Fushimi Inari, um dos maiores e mais famosos de Quioto. O titulo da peça é Kokaji, a história de um ferreiro, fabricante de espada, chamado Munechika. Esse personagem existiu realmente no século Ⅹ.
Um dia, Munechika recebeu a visita de um enviado imperial com uma ordem do imperador para que fabricasse uma espada de alta qualidade e beleza. Mas para malhar o ferro, precisava de mais uma pessoa com experiencia igual à dele. No entanto, ele não tinha nenhum discípulo e, sem saber o que fazer, resolveu visitor o santuário Fushimi Inari para pedir aos deuses a sua ajuda.
No meio do caminho, ele encontrou um menino que, na verdade , era o deus Inari disfarçado. Este menino encorajou-o e prometeu–lhe ajuda. Ele disse: “Depois de voltar à sua casa, faça um estrado e me espere. Munechika voltou então para casa e fez o estrado para malhar o ferro. Assim que ele começou a rezar apareceu o deus Inari e malhou o ferro junto com Munechika. Por último, Munechika inscreveu seu nome na espada e , ao lado, o deus gravou a inscrição “Kogitsune”, que significa “raposa pequena”. Assim se fabricou a espada de alta qualidade. Depois de terminado o trabalho, o deus Inari montou em uma nuvem e desapareceu na montanha de Inari.

Os deuses de Inari em Nô

3 O santuário Fushimi inari

Este santuário presta culto ao deus do arroz, desde antigamente o alimento mais importante para os japoneses . Há uma lenda sobre nascimento deste santuário: Um dia um homen chamado Hatano Kimiirogo atirou uma flecha para um alvo feito de bolo de arroz, “mochi” . Este mochi , ao ser atingido pela flecha, transformou–se num pássaro branco e voou para longe. No lugar onde o passaro pousou, nasceu um pé de arroz. Aí, Hatano kimirogo construiu o santuário de Inari. Por isso,o nome da santuário, Inari significa “ nasce um pé de arroz”.  Não se sabe ao certo, mas estima–se que tenha sido construído por volta do ano no 711. O que chama a atenção quando entramos é a quantidade de estátuas de raposas. A raposa é considerada um mensageiro do deus do arroz porque este animal caça os ratos que comem os grãos de arroz.

Uma outra peculiaridade do santuário que encanta os turistas é a fileira de portais (torii) pintados de vermelho ao longo das escadarias. Existem cerca de 10000 torii. Isto também tem uma razão: o deus do arroz, Inari, era originalmente reverado pelos agricultores. No entanto, com o passar do tempo, esse deus se multiplicou passando a ser reverado também por comerciantes e pessoas de outras ocupações. Os portais dos santuário foram oferecidos por pessoas que tiveram seu pedidos realizados pelo deus Inari.

☆Acesso ao santuário Fushimi Inari
Pegue o trem de linha de Nara na Estação de Kyoto e desça na estação de Inari.