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Goin’ Japanesque!

6 Tokyo Temples and Shrines for Hatsumode Based on Objective

When it comes to Japanese New Year’s traditions, the first thing to do would be “hatsumode” to start off the new year. Hatsumode refers to the act of visiting the temples or shrines for New Year’s, which typically happens on New Year’s day or within three days from the new year. People go to show appreciation for being safe the previous year, and to pray/ask for another good one. In this article, we will be introducing recommended hatsumode spots in Tokyo. Since each location is known to have different powers or effects as well as different sizes of crowds, we tried to present the information based on your hatsumode objective in order to make things simpler. Photo


1. Meiji Jingu

明治神宮、Powers: Romance/marriage, keeping evil spirits away


Meiji Jingu is the leading hatsumode spot, with over 3 million hatsumode visitors each year. Since it has the largest number of visitors in Japan, it gets extremely crowded. However, its potential as a “power spot” is tremendous, which makes this a place worth visiting. Meiji Jingu is also known for having a large number of food stands, and being conveniently located.

Kiyomasa’s Well


There is a rare well that is said to hold great powers.

Nearby Trains: Harajuku Station, Yamanote-line; Meiji Jingumae Station, Chiyoda-line


2. Senso-ji

浅草寺、Powers: All wishes


Who isn’t familiar with the Senso-ji Temple. This is another popular location with almost 3 million visitors for hatsumode. It is a great spot for tourists to visit since there are many food stands and the Tokyo Sky Tree is so close, but just like Meiji Jingu it gets very busy.
Related: List of Free Buses to Know when Sightseeing in Tokyo

Nearby Trains: All Asakusa Station Lines


3. Sojiji Temple (Nishiarai Daishi)

西新井大師、Powers: Keeping evil spirits away

If what you need is to keep evil spirits away, then Nishiarai Daishi is the place for you. In Japan, it is said that age 25, 42, and 61 are bad luck for men. These years of bad luck are referred to as “yakudoshi” in Japanese. Nishiarai Daishi is especially known as the spot to visit if you are a 25 year old male, to have the evil spirits banished. If you are about to hit a yakudoshi year, why not take this opportunity and make a visit. Since Nishiarai Daishi is much less crowded compared to the Meiji Jingu and Senso-ji temples it is one of our top recommended hatsumode spots.

Kusa Dango (Mugwort Dumplings)

These green dango’s (dumplings made out of mochiko) are a specialty to this region, and are often found sold in front of train stations.

Nearby Trains: Daishimae Station, Tobu Daishi-line


4. Kanda Myojin Shrine

神田明神、Powers: Prosperous business, romance/marriage, keeping evil spirits away

Kanda Myojin is well known as being the shrine where the AKB48 members (a 48 member girl singing group named after the Akihabara area in Tokyo) attended their seijin-shiki, which is actually the Coming of Age Day ceremony for those who turned 20 years old that year. This location is known for granting prosperity especially in businesses, which is great since it is located in the downtown area with many local stores. It is also famous for being the spot where the famous Kanda Festival is held and celebrated. The Kanda Festival ranks not only as one of the top 3 festivals in Tokyo, but the entire country. 

Kanda Festival


Nearby Trains: JR Ochanomizu Station; JR Akihabara Station


5. Yushima Tenjin

湯島天神、Powers: Academic achievements


Yushima Tenjin is known as the worship place for the god of studies. Many students gather in this location in preparation for their examination period, and an overwhelming amount of wooden plaques are wished upon in hopes of passing, as shown in the photograph. There are also many students who visit Yushima Tenjin to purchase pencils, which they then use on the day of their exams. 

Nearby Trains: Yushima Station, Chiyoda-line


6. Imado Shrine

今戸神社、Powers: Romance/marriage


The Imado Shrine is famous for being one of the birth places of the “maneki neko,” which has a literal meaning of “beckoning cat” and is a common cat-shaped Japanese lucky charm. This location is famous for its powers in romance and bringing people together in matrimony. 
Reference Past Article: What on Earth!! Top 3 + 1 Extra, Historically Significant Spots for Maneki-neko

*Regarding the “powers” mentioned above, we have only listed the primary ones.


All six locations introduced today are within the greater Tokyo area, however since each one has different purposes we hope you are able to select the one that suits your needs best.

Related: Learn for Your Trip to Kyoto: Differences in Etiquette for Shrines and Temples

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