5 Most Popular Otera and Jinja during Hatsumode

Here in Japan, there is a traditional custom of visiting an Otera (お寺: Buddhist temple) or Jinja (神社: Shinto shrine) at the beginning of the New Year.

As you may know, we generally call the first visit to the shrine or temple during the first three days of the New Year (January 1st to 3rd) Hatsumode (初詣).

In the tradition of Hatsumode, we pray for the safety and peace of the year. And we show thanks to the gods for our lives.

5 Most Popular Otera and Jinja during Hatsumode

People usually make the first visit during the first three days of the New Year, but there is no clear rule concerning when to do Hatsumode.

Besides, you can visit any Otera or Jinja, so the number of visitors varies depending on the popularity.

According to the article 初詣 on Japanese Wikipedia, the top 5 Otera and Jinja for 2016 are as follows.

#5: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (鶴岡八幡宮)

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu

Constructed in 1180 by Minamoto no Yoritomo, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (鶴岡八幡宮) is a prestigious Shinto shrine located in Kamakura City, Kanagawa.

The shrine annually holds a Shinto ritual of horseback archery called Yabusame-Shinji (流鏑馬神事) in September, which has over 800 years of history and is world-famous.

A ritual of praying for healthy life and good luck of the year takes place every year from January 1st to 7th when many people visit this shrine.

The Number of Visitors during Hatsumode: Approximately 2.50 Million

  • Address: 2-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Pref. (Google Maps)

#4: Sensoji (浅草寺)

Constructed in 628, Sensoji (浅草寺) is the oldest existent temple in Tokyo. It is located in Asakusa and is now a popular sightseeing spot.

This Otera’s principal image of Buddha is the Sho Kannon (聖観音), who is the most merciful of all incarnations of the Buddha.

The Kannon statue makes people’s various wishes come true, which include thriving business, the safety and well-being of the family, academic achievement, the cure of diseases, and warding off evil.

The Number of Visitors during Hatsumode: Approximately 2.91 Million

#3: Kawasaki Daishi (川崎大師)

Kawasaki Daishi
Constructed in 1128, Kawasaki Daishi (川崎大師), the popular name of Heikenji (平間寺), is one of the head temples of the Shingon sect, located in Kawasaki, Kanagawa.

The temple is known as Yakuyoke Daishi (厄除け大師: The great teacher for warding off evil), loved by the locals through the ages.

This Otera’s principal image of worship is the statue of Kobo Daishi (弘法大師), which chases away evil spirits.

The Number of Visitors during Hatsumode: Approximately 3.07 Million

  • Address: 4-48 Daishimachi, Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Pref. (Google Maps)

#2: Naritasan Shinshoji (成田山新勝寺)

Naritasan Shinshoji
Naritasan Shinshoji (成田山新勝寺), located in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, is also one of the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, constructed in 940.

This temple is famous for the ritual of consecrated fire called Gomakito (護摩祈祷), which takes place to pray for traffic safety and the well-being of the family.

This Otera’s principal image is the Fudo Myoo (不動明王), who saves all people by removing worldly desires and spiritual darkness.

The Number of Visitors during Hatsumode: Approximately 3.09 Million

  • Address: 1 Narita, Narita City, Chiba Pref. (Google Maps)

#1: Meiji Jingu (明治神宮)

Meiji Jingu
Meiji Jingu (明治神宮), located in Shibuya, Tokyo, constructed in 1920, is the shrine with the highest status in Shinto.

The deities of this shrine are Emperor Meiji (1852 – 1912) and his Empress, and Meiji Jingu is known for its efficacy of match-making and harmonious marriage.

The Number of Visitors during Hatsumode: Approximately 3.17 Million

  • Address: 1-1 Kamizono-Cho, Yoyogi, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo (Google Maps)


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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