Let’s go to “Hatsumode”! ~How to pray at shrines~

伝統行事(でんとうぎょうじ): Traditional events

Japanese article is here; https://japaneselanguagesalonbymikapanda.com/lets-go-to-hatsumode-212

How we spend in new year holidays

Hello, this is MIKA. We’re now in New year holidays!!

We call 1st January “Ganzitsu”.

And the first sunrise is “Hatsuhinode” in Japanese; it’s expected we can spend new year with happiness if we watch “Hatsuhinode”.

Then from 1st to 3rd January, they are called “Sanganichi”. It’s the first consecutive holidays in Japan, so many people don’t work.

During “Sanganichi”, some go back to the homeland, and others go to a department store and enjoy buying “Hukubukuro”; it’s a set of goods for new year’s bargain.

However, the most important thing is “Hatsumode”!

“Hatsumode” means the first visiting to pray in Shrines or temples. We can visit not only shrines but also temples, and it doesn’t matter it’s local or not. Some go to the nearest, others go to famous places.

At “Hatsumode”, we thank for finishing the last year safety, praying to spend the new year with happiness, wish something, and divine the future.

This time, I’ll write about the manners for “Hatsumode”, the way to wish, and how to divine the future!

Before the worship

How to pass “Tori-i”

In the case of shrines, you should pay attention for the way to pass “Tori-i”.

“Tori-i” is a gate on a border line which separates the sanctuary to enshrine “Holy spirits” and our ordinary world.

When you pass “Tori-i”, be sure to go through at right or left side because the center is the street for “Holy spirits”.

Also there is the rule to make a bow for “Tori-i” before passing.

The manners at “Cho-zu-ya”

Next, it’s necessary to wash your hands and mouth at “Cho-zu-ya”.

There is the equipment to take a cup of water; we say it “Hisyaku”.

First, wash your left hand and right hand with “Hisyaku”.

And take some water with “Hisyaku” to put it on your left hand to wash your mouth.

After washing your mouth, spit out water to your footing or the drain ditch.

And wash your left hand again.

Finally wash the handle of “Hishaku” and put it on the original place.

The worship

“Osaisen”, some coins to put into the box

After washing your hands and mouth at “Cho-zu-ya”, go to a shrine. Stay to wait if there is a procession.

When your turn has come, make a bow in front of “Saisenbako” at first.

And put some coins into “Saisenbako”. These coins are called “Osaisen”.

The reason why we do that is we think the hole of coins can breathe in the uncleanliness and stock it.

But you don’t have to care to use coins without a hole and can decide a sum freely.


After putting some “Osaisen”, swing the rope named “Suzuo” to ring the bell three times.

Because that bell has the power to drive away evil spirits and call “Holy spirit” to give us the divine protection.

After that, slide to right or left by “Saisenbako”, make a bow twice, clap your hands twice, worship with your folded hands and closed eyes, and finally make a bow again.

We say this action “Nirei-Nihakusyu-ichirei” in Japanese.

That’s all about the worship.

After the worship

Write your wishes on “Ema”


After finishing the worship, you can write your wishes and divine your new year.

The wood plate to write someone’s wishes is called “Ema”.

Buy it and write your wishes or goal for the new year.

After writing, put it in the precinct of that shrine or temple.

Draw “Omikuzi” to divine your new year

“Omikuzi” is a lot to divine the new year.

If you get the good one, keep it carefully in your wallet or something.

If not, you can tie it to the place for bad lots not to take home the misfortune.

Buy “Omamori” to get the divine protection

Finally you can buy “Omamori” to get the divine protection.

Someone who want to pass the entrance exam should buy “Omamori” written “合格祈願(ごうかくきがん)” or “学業成就(がくぎょうじょうじゅ)”.

Someone who want a lover or get married should buy “Omamori” written “恋愛成就(れんあいじょうじゅ)” or “縁結(えんむす)び”.

“縁結び” means to connect a person with “Holy spirits” or others by fate.

We say such a connection as “ご縁(えん)”.

In addition, there are so many kinds of “Omamori” like one for the traffic safety, easy delivery and so on. Buy them which you need and carry it on you.

Finally comment

How was it?

Many Japanese do “Hatsumode” and wish the happiness of the new year.

Try it if you have a chance in new year holidays!