Hatsumode at Asakusa Sensoji Temple

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016

In Japan, the first visit to the shrine in the new year is called Hatsumode, and it attracts quite some crowds every year, and I think it is a great way to start a new year in Japanese-style. Fireworks are the standard celebrations in many cities in the world, but in Japan it is mostly a cultural setting at a shrine like in Asakusa, where the year begins with offering prayers for a prosperous year ahead. Warm crowds in the cold night of December 31, this is a unique experience to spend the early morning time of the new year.Hatsumode Asakusa Sensoji TempleAlthough its the first visit it attracts crowds in Asakusa and be prepared for LONG hours of lines before you get a chance to pray at the shrine inside the temple. This year it was a nearly 2 hour long queue at even 01:00 a.m. in the morning.Hatsumode Asakusa Sensoji TempleSecurity was quite tight and the crowds were coordinated in a disciplined manner. The small streets on the sides of the shops are well guarded by security staff, and no person is allowed to trespass and get in between jumping the queue. That Japanese orderliness and discipline…Hatsumode Asakusa Sensoji TempleCrowds moving slowly to the final stairs leading to the entrance of the shrine. I had good winter clothing to keep warm, which was the right decision given the slow moving lines.Hatsumode Asakusa Sensoji TemplePassing below the gate, crowds raise their hands to touch the red lantern. It can get pretty rough there at times, and to say the truth, I passed by without making an attempt to touch it.Hatsumode Asakusa Sensoji TempleWorth the wait and patience, a chance to offer prayers, wishing myself and all the readers of this article a prosperous new year filled with happiness!Hatsumode Asakusa Sensoji TempleI also stayed back until the sunrise and then got up the Asakusa Tourist Information Centre to take a panoramic view of the temple grounds and the crowds leading to it.
Hatsumode Asakusa Sensoji TempleThe first illumination of Tokyo Skytree, an illumination sequence only on the new years eve…..Hatsumode Asakusa Sensoji TempleJust a day before, December 30th, Asakusa wore a deserted look in the early morning. What a contrast on the New Year’s eve…AsakusaAsakusa

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