Guide to “Hatsumode” and “Sando” food/shopping in Tokyo 2018


“Hatsumode” is an event, which we go to shrines and temples at the beginning of the year to pray for a happy year. In Japan, many people enjoy this New Year's happy event with family and friends. Here, we introduce you to shrines and temples in Tokyo, famous for “Hatsumode” and easy to go to for travelers from overseas, along with great shopping spots in neighboring areas that you will enjoy.

“Meiji Jingu Shrine” is where they have the highest number of visitors in Japan (Harajuku)

Meiji Jingu Shrine, famous for having the highest number of worshipping visitors in Japan, was founded on November 1, 1920, enshrining the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken.

More than 3 million worshippers visit there during the New Year’s holidays, which is January 1 to 3, each year. Though it stands close to busy Shibuya and Harajuku, is surrounded by a majestic atmosphere with a large forest made of approximately 100,000 planted trees that were dedicated to the shrine from all over the nation.

More than anything, the trees that were planted by dendrologists back when the shrine was founded, planning 150 years ahead, are now lush and overwhelming, becoming a popular forest-bathing spot. Other good sightseeing spots are places such as “Kiyomasa no ido (Kiyomasa's well),” a well which is said to have been dug by Kato Kiyomasa, a famous commander of the civil war era; and beautiful irises planted by the wish of Emperor Meiji for his wife Empress Shoken.

(photo: Meiji Jingu Shrine)

Since it gets very crowded during Hatsumode, there may be traffic regulations such as a part of the Sando (road approaching a shrine) being designated a one-way street, so be sure to check websites or information before visiting.

Right near Meiji Jingu Shrine is Harajuku, the city of fashion. Along Harajuku's “Takeshita-dori Street,” many shops are open from New Year's Day, so check out super-affordable “Fukubukuro (lucky bag)” in each shop! “Laforet Harajuku,” a representative shop in Harajuku, will be open during the winter holidays. They will be open until 18:00 on December 31st, and until 19:00 on New Year's Day. They will go back to their regular business hours from January 2nd. Further, at “Omote Sando Hills,” they will also be open during the winter holidays. The business hours will be from 11 to 19:00 for December 31st, and from 10:30 to 20:00 between January 1st and 3rd.

“Meiji Jingu Shrine”
●1-1, Kamizono-cho, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
* Please refer to the website for opening hours between December 31st and New Year's holidays.

“Takeshita-dori Street”

“Laforet Harajuku”

“Omote Sando Hills”

At “Kanda Myojin Shrine (Kanda Jinja),” they start Saitansai from midnight of New Year's Day (Ochanomizu)

(photo: Kanda Jinja)

During the Edo period, Kanda Myojin Shrine was considered “sochinju (local Shinto deity)," and was said to protect all of Edo. Its official name is “Kanda Jinja,” and is well-known as the god of success and prosperity in their businesses, and presiding over marriages. The shrine's god has been protecting Tokyo for a long 1,300 years.

The all-vermillion-lacquered shrine has a gorgeous and cheerful atmosphere. It is well-known as the ujigami (a guardian god or spirit) of 108 towns that support Tokyo's tradition and innovation, such as Kanda, Nihonbashi, Akihabara, and Tsukiji fish market.

Deities such as Daikoku-sama, Ebisu-sama, and Masakado-sama are enshrined, and Kanda Myojin Shrine, known as the god of marriage, business prosperity, and eliminating disaster, starts the Saitansai (New Year's Festival) from midnight of New Year's Day, and many people crowd the shrine.

Near Kanda Myojin Shrine are many of Tokyo's leading shopping areas such as Ginza, Marunouchi, and Akihabara! Right by Tokyo Station is “Daimaru Tokyo,” which opens until 18:00 on December 31st, closed New Year's Day, and starts business January 2nd. “Ginza Mitsukoshi” will be open between 10:00 and 18:00 (restaurants open 11:00-18:00) on December 31st, closed on January 1st and 2nd, and go back to regular hours from the 3rd. The much-talked-about “Ginza 6” will be open between 10:30 and 18:00 (restaurants open 11:00-21:00) on December 31st, closed on January 1st, and open between 10:30 and 20:30 (restaurants open 11:00-23:30) on the 2nd, and will be business as usual starting the 3rd (some shops may differ). Further, many of the “Akihabara area” leading electrical appliance stores do not close during year-end and New Year's holiday.

“Kanda Myojin Shrine (Kanda Jinja)”
●2-16-2, Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
*Please refer to the website for opening hours between December 31st and New Year's holidays.

“Daimaru Tokyo”

“Ginza Mitsukoshi”

“Ginza 6”

Go “Hatsumode” at “Sensoji Temple,” a very popular sightseeing spot among visitors from overseas (Asakusa)

(photo: Sensoji Temple)

Sensoji Temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo, boasting nearly 1400 years of history. The temple has been worshipped by nobles, warriors, and many commoners. Particularly during the Edo period, people who came to the temple for praying, excursion, and pleasure made it one of the hottest amusement spots in Edo.

“Kaminarimon Gate” is Asakusa's symbol, with Fujin (wind god) and Raijin (thunder god) protecting it. Kaminarimon's official name is “Furaijinmon,” and the huge red lantern hanging from the gate stands out, making the Kaminarimon Gate a popular spot among travelers from overseas as well as domestic tourists.

During the first three days of New Year's alone, 2,900,000 people visit Sensoji Temple, which is said to have benefits such as more money, good marriages, avoid fire/theft, and safe childbirth. Please take note that from December 31st to January 3rd, “Nakamise” (shopping streets in the temple precincts) that lead to Sensoji Temple will be a one-way street, among other traffic regulations.

Many of the shops on Sensoji Temple's Omote Sando street called “Nakamise” are open during the year-end to New Year's holidays. There will be a huge turnout of people, so it's better if you just enjoy the crowd. “Matsuya Asakusa” also will be open during the holidays. They will be open from 10:00 to 18:00 on December 31st, and from 11:00 to 18:00 on New Year's Day, and after that, it will be business as usual.

“Sensoji Temple”
●2-3-1, Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
*Please refer to the website for opening hours between December 31st and New Year's holidays.


“Matsuya Asakusa”

“Hanazono Jinja Shrine” in Shinjuku's downtown area has a deep relationship with the entertainment world. (Shinjuku)

(photo: Hanazono Jinja)

Shinjuku is the downtown area of Tokyo. Hanazono Jinja Shrine has always watched over Shinjuku's development. Besides its main hall, they enshrine gods that administer entertainment such as plays and dancing.

Since the Edo period, Hanazono Jinja Shrine has a history of being popular for providing a playhouse and producing shows, plays, and dances. It was worshipped by many people as the “sochinju (local Shinto deity)” of Naito Shinjuku. “Geino Asama Jinja Shrine,” located within the precinct, there are offerings of tamagaki (shrine fence) dedicated by many famous Japanese entertainers, and is known as a shrine that is deeply connected to entertainment.

It is very Tokyo-like to see a solemn shrine standing near Kabukicho's neon signs. Many people visit Hanazono Jinja Shrine for Hatsumode each year as there are numerous business and sightseeing spots nearby.

Since there are many department stores and restaurants in Shinjuku, the area is convenient for shopping after you go Hatsumode. “Isetan Shinjuku Store” is open between 10:00 and18:00 on December 31st. January 1st and 2nd are closed. New Year's sale starts on the 3rd. At “Shinjuku Takashimaya,” they are open between 10:00 and 18:00 on December 31st, closed on New Year's Day, and business as usual from the 2nd. “BICQLO BicCamera Shinjuku East Store,” located near Shinjuku Station's East exit, is basically open all year, although some shops differ, so you can enjoy their various New Year's sales. (BicCamera shops are open from 10:00 to 20:00 on December 31st, and business as usual from New Year's Day, open between 10:00 and 22:00.)

“Hanazono Jinja Shrine”
●5-17-3, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
*Please refer to the website for opening hours between December 31st and New Year's holidays.

“Isetan Shinjuku Store”

“Shinjuku Takashimaya”

“BICQLO BicCamera Shinjuku East Store”

*The above information was last updated December 18, 2017. For further information, please contact the facilities directly.

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