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Hatsumode New Year’s visit to a shrine

After bidding farewell to the year that has just ended, it’s time for many Japanese people to pay their first visit of the new year to a local shrine. Hatsumode is a traditional Japanese custom of visiting a shrine or temple at the beginning of the year. When performing hatsumode, one thanks the gods for the blessings received during the previous year, prays for another happy and prosperous year, writes wishes on a wooden plate called an ema and draws an omikuji (paper with a fortune). Lucky charms purchased in the previous year must be returned to the same shrine to be burned. Most shrines and temples are open until midnight and filled with a great many worshippers during the first three days of the new year.

 

According to Chinese astrology, 2014 is the Year of the Horse. Chinese astrology-themed lucky charms are available at almost all Japanese shrines, and carrying a lucky charm of your zodiac sign is said to protect you against evil spirits and also bring blessings into your life. It’s a very common practice for Japanese people to purchase a lucky charm during hatsumode.

Who are the ‘Horse people’ (people born in the Year of the Horse)?

Horse people are those who were born in years of the horse, including 1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014 and in 2014, they will be turning 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, 96 or 108 years old.

 

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沖縄県護国神社
Okinawa Gokoku Shrine

[Major benefits]
Family safety, traffic safety, warding off evil spirits, recovery from illness, success and prosperity in business and realization of general wishes

Address: 44 Onoyama-cho, Naha City
Hours: Open 24 hours from Dec. 31 through Jan. 3. *6:00-20:00 on Jan. 4, 6:30-18:00 on Jan. 5 and 8:30-17:00 Jan. 6 and after
Access: Approximately an 18-minute drive from Naha Airport
Parking: Visitors can park at Onoyama Athletic Park.

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波上宮
Naminoue-gu Shrine

[Major benefits]
Family safety, safe childbirth, prosperity in business, good health, warding off evil spirits, public well-being, good catch of fish and safe journey

Address: 1-25-11 Wakasa, Naha City
Hours: Open 24 hours from Dec. 31 through Jan. 3. *7:00-18:00 Jan. 4 and after
Access: Approximately a 15-minute drive from Naha Airport
Parking: N/A *Pay parking is available in vicinity.

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沖宮
Okino-gu Shrine

[Major benefits]
Address: 44 Onoyama-cho, Naha City

Hours: Open 24 hours from Dec. 31 through Jan. 3. *7:00-22:00 on Jan. 4 and 7:00-19:00 Jan. 5 and after
Access: Approximately a 10-minute drive from Naha Airport
Parking: About 200 spaces are available from Dec. 31 through Jan. 3.

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普天満宮
Futenma-gu Shrine

[Major benefits]
Good catch of fish and safe journey, good harvest, traffic safety, prosperity in business, good marriage, safe childbirth, academic success and blessing of newborn babies

Address: 1-27-10 Futenma, Ginowan City
Hours: Open 24 hours from Dec. 31 through Jan. 3. *9:30-18:00 Jan. 4 and after
Access: Approximately a 70-minute drive from Naha Airport
Parking: More than 300 spaces available. *Shuttle service is provided at no charge from free temporary parking.

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成田山福泉寺
Okinawa Narita-san Fukusen-ji Temple

[Major benefits]
Prosperity in business, traffic safety, good health and family safety

Address: 617 Ishado, Nakagusuku Village
Hours: Open 24 hours from Dec. 31 through Jan. 5. *9:00-17:00 Jan. 6 and after
Access: Approximately a 40-minute drive from Naha Airport
Parking: About 400 spaces are available.

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