5 Most Popular Otera and Jinja during Hatsumode

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

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

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

Although people usually make the first temple (shrine) visit during the first three days of the New Year, there is actually no clear rule concerning when we should do Hatsumode.

Besides, you can visit wherever Otera or Jinja you want to go, so the number of visitors varies depending on the popularity.

5 Most Popular Temples and Shrines during Hatsumode

Thus here, for those of you who are curious about what Otera and Jinja have lots of visitors during Hatsumode, let me introduce the 5 most popular temples and shrines during the period.

According to Wikipedia Japan, the top 5 Otera and Jinja for 2016 are as follows.

#5: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (鶴岡八幡宮)

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu

“Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (鶴岡八幡宮)” is a prestigious Shinto shrine located in the city of Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture. It was constructed in 1180 by “Minamoto no Yoritomo (源頼朝)”, a famous Shogun.

Speaking of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, the Shinto ritual of horseback archery called “Yabusame-Shinji (流鏑馬神事)”, which is held annually in September, has over 800 years of history and is world-famous.

The shrine ritual to pray for sound health and good luck of the year takes place every year during a period from January 1 to 7, when many people visit this shrine.

The Number of Visitors during Hatsumode: Approximately 2.50 Million

  • Address: 2-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa Pref. (MAP)

#4: Sensoji (浅草寺)

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

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

The Kannon statue is said to make 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

  • Address: 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito Ward, Tokyo (MAP)

#3: Kawasaki Daishi (川崎大師)

Kawasaki Daishi
“Kawasaki Daishi (川崎大師)”, the popular name of “Heikenji (平間寺)”, is one of the head temples of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, which was constructed in 1128.

The temple located in the city of Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, is regarded as “Yakuyoke Daishi (厄除け大師: The great teacher for warding off evil)” and has been loved by people through the ages.

This Otera’s principal image of worship is the statue of “Kobo Daishi (弘法大師)”, which is said to chase away various evil spirits.

The Number of Visitors during Hatsumode: Approximately 3.07 Million

  • Address: 4-48 Daishimachi, Kawasaki, Kanagawa Pref. (MAP)

#2: Naritasan Shinshoji (成田山新勝寺)

Naritasan Shinshoji
“Naritasan Shinshoji (成田山新勝寺)”, located in the city of Narita, Chiba Prefecture, is also one of the head temples of the Shingon sect of Buddhism.

This temple was built in 940 and now is famous for the ritual of consecrated fire called “Gomakito (護摩祈祷)”, which is held to pray for traffic safety and the safety and well-being of the family.

This Otera’s principal image is “Fudo Myoo (不動明王)”, who is believed to save all people, removing worldly desires and spiritual darkness.

The Number of Visitors during Hatsumode: Approximately 3.09 Million

  • Address: 1 Narita, Narita, Chiba Pref. (MAP)

#1: Meiji Jingu (明治神宮)

Meiji Jingu
“Meiji Jingu (明治神宮)”, which was constructed in 1920 and is located in Shibuya, Tokyo, is the shrine with the highest status in Shinto. Today, this Jingu shrine is known as one of the most spiritual sites in Tokyo.

The deities of this shrine are Emperor Meiji (1852 – 1912) and his Empress, so Meiji Jingu is popular 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 (MAP)


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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