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.

Sugestões de Visitas em Quioto

by Sachiko Okubo; Eri Sakuma; Kota Tsujimoto

Em baixo poderão consultar um plano de visita a Quioto. Todos os templos aqui apresentados têm uma longa e interessante história. Se tiverem oportunidade de visitar o Japão, poderão usar este plano…

Meios de transporte☆


Nome da parada de ônibus

Número do ônibus

Estação de Quioto



Pega o ônibus 9, 5 ou 101 para ir a Nijo-jo.




Pega o ônibus 12 ou 101 para ir a Kinkaku-ji.




Pega o ônibus 102 ou 204 para ir a Ginkaku-ji.




Pega o ônibus 5 para ir a Nanzen-ji.


Nanzenji, Eikando-michi


Pego o ônibus 5 para ir a Heian-jingu.


Kyoto Kaikan Bijutsukan-mae


Pega o ônibus 100 para ir a Kiyomizu-dera.




Pega o ônibus 100 ou 206 para voltar a estação de Quioto

Estação de Quioto




Em primeiro lugar, é aconselhável a compra de um bilhete diário, para todos os ônibus da cidade de Quioto. Poderão comprar este bilhete no próprio ônibus ou no Centro de Informação, na Estação de Quioto.
O preço é 500 ienes para adultos e 250 ienes para crianças dos 6 aos 12 anos.
Mapa dos ônibus de Quioto:


O Castelo de Nijo foi construido por ordem de Ieyasu Tokugawa, em 1603. Iemitsu, o terceiro shógun Tokugawa, deslocou partes do Castelo de Fushimi para o edifício do Castelo Nijo, em 1625/26. As dimensões de Nijo são 400 metros (este-oeste) por 500 metros (norte-sul) e encontra-se rodeado por uma muralha que servia para guardar o Palácio Imperial de Quioto e alojar o shógun, quando este se encontrava em Quioto. Yoshinobu Tokugawa publicou aqui “A Restauração da Regra Imperial”, durante os tumultuosos anos da Restauração Meiji. O edifício Ninomaru-Goten, que se encontra dentro deste castelo, é considerado Tesouro Nacional pelo Governo do Japão. Encontra-se também registrado como Patrimônio Mundial pela UNESCO.

▲O Jardim de Ninomaru ▲Ninomaru-Goten
Código postal 604-8301
Endereço Nijojomachi 541, nijo-dori horikawa nishi, nakagyo-ku, kyoto-shi
Acesso Se for de ônibus descer no ponto de Nijojo-mae que fica cerca de 5 minutos desse local.
Se for de ônibus descer no ponto de Horikawa-oike que fica cerca de 5 minutos desse local.
Se for de JR descer no ponto de Nijo que fica cerca de 15 minutos desse local.
Se for de mêtro descer no ponto de Nijojo-mae que fica cerca desse local.
Telefone 075-841-0096
Fax 075-802-6181
Website http://www.city.kyoto.jp/bunshi/nijojo/
Taxa Até 12 anos / 200 ienes
13 as 18 anos / 350 ienes
Adulto / 600 ienes
Para pessoa com deficiência física e uma assistencia / grátis[Para grupo] Até 12 anos / 200 ienes
13 as 18 anos / 350 ienes
Adulto / 500 ienes
Tempo útil De 8:45 Para 17:00
Observação Estacionamento para 30 ônibus e 210 carros


Yoshimitsu Achikaga, terceiro shógun do Governo Muromachi, construiu o Templo Dourado como refúgio de montanha. O nome formal do Templo era Rokuon.

O edifício tem três andares, e a sua construção é típica da Cultura de Kitayama.
Existe um Fenghuang em cima de telhado.
O templo ardeu com um incêndio em 1950, mas foi reconstruído em 1955.
O jardim do Kinkakuji é um dos mais belos de todo o Período Muromachi.
Foi registrado como Patrimônio Mundial da Humanidade, em 1994.


Código postal 603-8361
Endereço Kinkakuji-cho 1, kitaku, kyoto-shi
Acesso Se for de ônibus descer no ponto de kinkakuji-michi que fica cerca de 5 minutos desse local
Se for de ônibus descer no ponto de kinkakuji-mae que fica cerca de 1 minutos desse local
Telefone 075-461-0013
Website http://www.shokoku-ji.or.jp/kinkakuji/
Taxa Criança (Até 15 anos) / 300 ienes
Adulto / 400 ienes
Para pessoa com deficiencia física / 300 ienes
Tempo útil De 9:00 para 17:00
Observação Estacionamento para 50 ônibus


Ginkakuji foi construído como casa de verão de Ashikaga Yoshimasa, o oitavo General do Shogunato Muromachi. O seu nome formal é Jishou-ji.
Ginkaku é um edifício de dois andares e a sua construção representada a cultura de Higashiyama.
Ao contrário do que o nome possa indicar, a sua cobertura não são folhas de prata mas sim laca pintada.
Foi registrado na lista de Patrimônio Mundial da Humanidade em 1994.







Código postal 606-8402
Endereço Ginkakuji-cho 2, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi
Acesso Se for de ônibus descer no ponto de Ginkakuji-michi que fica cerca de 10 minutos desse local.
Se for de ônibus descer no ponto de Ginkakuji-mae que fica cerca de 5 minutos desse local.
Telefone 075-771-5725
Fax 075-771-5439
Website http://www.shokoku-ji.or.jp/ginkakuji/index.html
Taxa Criança (Até 15 anos) / 300 ienes
Adulto / 500 ienes
Para pessoa com deficiência física / 100 ienes
ajudante / 100 ienes
Tempo útil De 8:30 para 17:00
Observação Não há estacionamento


Nanzen-ji é um templo budista construído no Período Heian pelo Imperador Kameyama no início do Período Edo e tem um dos jardins de pedra mais conhecidos do Japão, “Karesansui”.

▲Nanzen-ji ▲Aqueduto da Água de Prata
Código postal 606-8435
Endereço Nanzen-ji Fukuti-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi
Acesso Se for de ônibus descer no ponto de Nanzen-ji, Eikandou-michi que fica cerca de 10 minutos desse local.
Se for de metrô descer na estação de Keague que fica cerca de 7 minutos desse local.
Telefone 075-771-0365
Fax 075-771-6989
Website http://nanzenji.com/
Correio Electrónico info@nanzen.net
Taxa Até 15 anos / 300 ienes
15 as 18 anos / 400 ienes
Adulto / 500 ienes
Para pessoa com deficiência física e uma assistencia / grátis
[Para grupo] Até 15 anos / 250 ienes
15 as 18 anos / 350 ienes
Adulto / 400 ienes
Tempo útil Das 8:40 para 17:00


▲Heian-jingu ▲O ponte de Ninféia e de Cálamo

Heian-jingu tem um torii (portão de entrada) que é um dos maiores do Japão. Foi construído em 1895 para celebrar o 1100º aniversário do estabelecimento de Heian-kyo (o antigo nome de Quioto).

▲Shobi-kan ▲Heian-jingu

Código postal 606-8341
Endereço Tenno-cho 97, Okazaki nishi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi
Acesso Se for de ônibus descer no ponto de Kyoto-kaikan bijutukan mae que fica cerca de 3 minutos desse local.
Se for de metrô descer na estação de Higashiyama que fica cerca de 10 minutos desse local.
Se for de trêm pela Keihan Densha descer na estação de Sanjo que fica cerca de 15 minutos desse local, ou estação de Maruta-machi. Que fica cerca de 15 minutos desse local.

Telefone 075-761-0221
Fax 075-761-0225
Website http://www.heianjingu.or.jp/
Correio Electrónicoinfo@heianjingu.or.jp
Taxa Criança (Até 15 anos) / grátis
Adulto / grátis
Tempo útil De 8:30 para 17:30
Observação Estacionamento para 28 ônibus e 506 carros


O Kiyomizu-dera é um templo (ou pagode) construído na encosta das montanhas, no distrito de Higashiyama, a leste de Kyoto, no Japão, ano de 780 d.C.
Está associado à seita Hosso uma das seitas mais antigas do Budismo Japonês.
Kiyomizu-dera foi construido pelo Xogun Sakanoue no tamuramaro em Período Heian.
Tem 30 predios principais, e foram reconstruido pelo Tokugawa Iemitu( o 3º Xogun de Período Edo).
Hondou( o edifcio principal ) é chamado ¨KIYOMIZU NO BUTAI¨. Tem uma expressão ¨pular do KIYOMIZU NO BUTAI ¨que usa quando vai fazer uma coisa muito importante.
A vista pelo Balcão é muito bonita, especialmente, na altura das cerejeiras em flor (primavera) e as folhas vermelhas do outuno.
Em 1994, foi classificado como Patrimônio Mundial da Humanidade pela UNESCO.

▲Niou-mon e Torre

▲Jishu-jinja ▲Kiyomizu-deraCódigo postal 605-0862
Endereço Kiyomizu 1, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi
Acesso Se for de ônibus descer no ponto de Kiyomizu-michi que fica cerca de 10 minutos desse local.
Se for de ônibus descer no ponto de Gojo-zaka que fica cerca de 10 minutos desse local.
Se for de trêm pela Keihan Densha descer na estação de Gojo que fica cerca de 20 minutos desse local .
Telefone 075-551-1234
Fax 075-551-1287
Website http://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/
Taxa Criança (Até 15 anos) / 200 ienes
Adulto / 300 ienes
Para pessoa com deficiência física e uma assistencia / grátis
Tempo útil De 6:00 para 18:00
Observação Não há estacionamento

A Symbol of Kyoto: Heian Shrine

by Satoko Kawaguchi, Natsuki Kamikura & Yusuke Shimizu


Almost everyone who visits Kyoto thinks that the ancient capital’s temples and shrines were originally built many, many years ago, and indeed most of them were. But there is one famous exception: Heian Shrine. This magnificent Shinto place of worship, also known as Heian Jingu, was built in 1895 to celebrate the 1,100th anniversary of the transfer of Japan’s capital to Kyoto. In 794 A.D., the Emperor Kanmu moved the capital from Nara to what is now Kyoto and named the new city “Heian-kyo”, which means “the capital of eternal peace”. The shrine’s main buildings convey the atmosphere of elegance of the Heian Period (794-1185). In those days, the Japanese people welcomed Chinese culture warmly, and we can still find in this shrine today many features and artifacts connected with Chinese culture.

Actually, there is another interesting background story to the building of Heian Shrine. In the late 19th century, Kyoto had seriously declined because the capital had been transferred once again, this time to Tokyo. As a result, Kyoto’s population had decreased, and the city had become spiritless. By building a new and impressive shrine, the remaining people of Kyoto intended to boost Kyoto’s image and reinvigorate the life of the city. The Heian Shrine project was a success, and today both its architecture and grounds are so grand and inspiring that is a suitable symbol of Kyoto. This is an important part of Heian Shrine’s history.

Daigokuden: ‘Great Hall of State’

Daigokuden, the holiest place in this shrine, is composed of three buildings: Gaihaiden (Front Shrine), the Inner Sanctuary and the Main Sanctuary. Everyone can enter the first building to pray to the deity by offering some coins. Speaking of prayer, do you know how to worship in Shinto shrines? It is different from the way of praying in temples. First, you bow twice, and next clap your hands twice and then you bow again. Each action has a meaning. The first two bows express gratitude in advance for the granting of a wish. The two handclaps are for letting the deity know that you are present. And the final bow conveys gratitude for the granting of your wishes from now on.

We are only permitted to enter the second building, the Inner Sanctuary, on the days of Shinto events like Shichigosan or Omiyamairi. Shichigosan (literally, “7-5-3”) is a festival for three- and seven-year-old girls, and three- and five-year-old boys. Dressed in kimono, hakama or other formal wear, small children traditionally have gone to shrines to receive blessings on November 15th, but nowadays they may visit anytime within the month of November. Omiyamairi is the first shrine visit after a baby is born, when the tiny child, swaddled in white lace, is brought inside to the altar to be blessed.

Although we can enter the shrine’s first and second buildings, no one except for the priests of Heian Shrine are allowed to enter the Main Sanctuary because the souls of emperors Kanmu and Komei are enshrined here. Kanmu, who moved the capital, was the first emperor to reign from Kyoto, and Komei was the last. They are both considered very precious in this shrine — so important that their vehicles are shown in the Jidai Matsuri, or Festival of Ages, an annual procession where we can see people costumed in clothing from various periods ranging from 790 to 1860.

Otenmon: ‘The Main Gate’

Otenmon is a majestic and colorful building which has reproduced Daidairi, a part of the imperial palace that once stood in Heian-kyo in Emperor Kanmu’s time; it is reduced to about two-thirds in scale but it is still vast. Daidairi was the center of government in the Heian era. In Heian-kyo, the nobles named the gates which they governed with their own names. Otenmon was governed by an official named Otomo, and “mon” means gate, so at first it was called Otomomon. Long afterward, people came to call this building Otenmon. When public officials visited the Imperial Court, they led their men and took up their positions beside the right and left hallways of the gate. In 866, there was a fire in Otenmon and it burned down. This incident, called “The Affair of Otenmon”, involved arson and was connected to a government plot. A man named. Fujiwara took the helm of government after he banished Otomo from politics for his arson. Otenmon was reconstructed in 871, but when the Onin Rebellion broke out in 1467, Kyoto was drawn into a vortex of war, and Otenmon disappeared. The current Otenmon appeared four centuries later.


What do you associate with a shrine? Perhaps many people who know something about Shinto connect shrines with the torii, a freestanding gate with two overhead crossbars or lintels. A gate such as this usually stands at the entrance of the approach to a shrine. Heian Shrine has an enormous torii (its height is 24.4 meters!) You will be fascinated with this towering, vivid vermilion gate. But, this shrine didn’t have a torii until 1928, when people projected a plan for this massive gate. The construction started in June of that year and the torii was completed in October. The next year, workmen started to paint the torii with red clay and they finished all their work in March. When you see this torii with your own eyes you’ll marvel at how quick the construction was! In those days, it was biggest torii in all of Japan. At first, many people said, “Such a big red torii mars the beauty of the scenery.” But now, it is a symbol of Heian Shrine. This torii combines grandeur with grace.

Soryu-ro and Byakko-ro

These are towers at the sides of Daigokuden. Soryu-ro, to the east, means a blue dragon and a god that stand in the east, and Byakko-ro, to the west, means a white tiger and a god that stand in the west. These are two of four gods of a religion which came from China. The other gods are Genbu, a turtle and a snake and a god of water that stand in the north, and Suzaku, a vermillion bird in the south. Kyoto was regarded as a suitable landform for these four gods.

Shin-en: ‘Garden of the Gods’

At the sides and to the rear of Daigokuden, there is a superb garden which, at 33,000 square meters, takes up the half of the shrine’s precincts. This garden comprises four areas: south, west, middle and east.

The South Garden

In this area you can find about 200 kinds of plants which are described in books written in the Heian period such as The Tale of Genji, many with plates inscribed with passages from the famous story. As a result, this garden is called “The Heian Garden.” The most beautiful scene is pink weeping cherry trees. The blossoms are at their best in April. Oddly enough, you can also see the lone carriage of a streetcar in this area. Electric trolleys like this once ran in Kyoto, the first city they appeared in here in Japan. The one you’ll see nearly hidden in the plants in this garden is Japan’s oldest, come here to its final, honored resting place.

The West, Middle, and East Gardens

Ogawa Jihei, a landscape gardener of the modern era also known as Ueji, made these three gardens. He designed his plans with the intention that, all over this lush garden, people would be made to feel calm. He spent about 20 years making these three gardens.The west garden was the first garden entered until the south garden was made. In this garden there are streams and a pond, Byakko-ike. At the edge of this pond, 2000 irises of 200 different Japanese traditional Japanese types cluster together. They are at their best in June. You can walk a simple wooden bridge over the pond at that time and look at water lilies in the same pond.

The main attraction of the middle garden is Garyukyo and irises. Garyukyo is a series of stepping-stones in the pond called Soryu-ike. These stones were formerly piers of two great bridges over the Kamo River — Sanjo Ohashi and Gojo Ohashi — which were made by the great conqueror Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598). Ogawa Jihei arranged these stones so that people stepping from one to the next can feel as if they might be riding on a dragon flying in the sky that is reflected on the surface of the pond. About 100 purple irises found here are at their best in May

The east garden is large and open. The first sight as you enter this area is a pond named Seiho-ike. As you walk, you will see Taiheikaku and Shobikan. You will feel as if Seiho-ike was a mirror because the surface of the pond reflects such buildings, trees and the sky. The garden “borrows” Mt. Kacho which is part of the Higashiyama range as background scenery. Taiheikaku is an exquisitely designed covered bridge over the pond. When you sit there for awhile and look down at the pond and carps, you can certainly feel calm. Shobikan stands on the edge of Seiho-ike and has gorgeous pictures painted on fusuma, which are framed and papered sliding doors used as room partitions. These two elegant buildings were given to the shrine from the Kyoto Imperial Palace.



In the pond there are two small islands, Kameshima (turtle island) and Tsurushima (crane island). They stand for Horaisan, a mountain that is a fabled fairyland in China. By the way, the water in these gardens’ ponds is drawn from Lake Biwa. There is a canal along Niomon Street for sending water here from the lake, Japan’s largest, in neighboring Shiga prefecture.

In this garden you can watch a lot of birds such as goshawks, kingfishers or herons and many water creatures. Sometimes unique animals are found — for example, the golden soft-shelled turtle. It is known that many soft-shelled turtles live in ponds, but this one is clearly a different color. It is said to be albino, and is very rare. Everyone seems interested in this unique turtle because it seems to bring good luck.

Another turtle whose shell is blooming with algae can also be found. It is called minogame, which means a turtle that looks like it’s wearing a straw raincoat! It takes a very long time and requires just the right conditions for algae to bloom on the shell, so this turtle also seems to be a good omen.

Admission to Shin-en might be a little expensive, but this wonderful garden is worth visiting. Make it a part of your experience of the shrine that revived Kyoto —Heian Shrine — and you will probably feel restored and refreshed afterwards yourself!