Dec. 18, 2017 UPDATE

Top 5 most popular shrines and temples for the first shrine visit of 2018!

The start of a new year means a visit to a shrine or a temple in Japan, and so in Kyoto, many people head to the shrines and temples of this ancient capital. So come find out which shrines and temples are the top destinations in 2018!

The year 2017 is soon going to end, and in Japan, that means that it’s soon going to be time to make the year’s first visit to a shrine or a temple. This is to pray for the new year to be a peaceful and happy one, and you too can take part in this tradition known as “hatsumode” in Japan here in Kyoto. Many shrines and temples from small to big are all popular hatsumode destination, but which ones are the most popular? It’s time to take a look and go for a hatsumode to the five most popular ones with Vanessa.

5Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Temple is loved by both the Japanese and foreign tourists, and this World Heritage Site can easily be said to be one of the symbols of Kyoto. So, of course, it’s also a popular hatsumode spot, and you can especially see many women who go to Kiyomizu Temple, as it’s said to be a good place to visit if you want a baby or are going to give birth to one. 


You can also visit Jishu Shrine which is known as the shrine of love, and frequented by those looking to find a partner. There are two “love fortune” stones, and if you can walk from one to the other one with your eyes closed you’ll find a partner. So those looking for a partner definitely need to visit this shrine! 

Good for: matchmaking, safe birth, overall health, examinations at school, and traffic safety. 

4Kamigamo Shrine

Kamigamo Shrine is another World Heritage Site with vast grounds. The shrine is surrounded by trees and you can feel like you are connected to nature at this shrine. The god enshrined here is the Japanese god of thunder, Kamo-wake-ikazuchi-no-kami, and it’s said that you can get rid of your bad luck at this shrine, and even make your luck better. The two cylindrical shapes you can see in the picture are said to help you get rid of bad luck. 

When you come here to pray, remember to also try your luck at the fortune slips! If you don’t happen to have good luck, don’t worry – you can get rid of your bad luck by tieing your fortune slip to this cute fortune slip sheep. It was the first time for me to see something this cute at a shrine! At Kamigamo Shrine you can also find Kataoka Shrine, which is said to be a nice place to pray for a good marriage, which is why many Japanese people hold their wedding ceremonies here. So, it’s really a good place to pray for a nice partner and a good marriage! 

Good for: marriage luck, traffic safety, getting rid of bad luck. 

3Heian Shrine

This shrine was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of Kyoto becoming the capital of Japan, so the shrine is huge, and so is the torii gate of the shrine. 


But Kyoto was also in decline during these years because it had lost its status as the capital of Japan to Tokyo, but the people of Kyoto came together to make build Heian Shrine. So the shrine is a place where you can pray for economic success and good connections. The shrine is in Okazaki, an area famous for its many museums, so you could also go see some art when you go to Heian Shrine. 

Good for: Good connections, matchmaking, general health, and business. 

2Yasaka Shrine

Yasaka Shrine is one of the liveliest places in Gion come New Year, no matter whether you’re going for the midnight bells on 31 of December or for hatsumode on 1 of January. The feel at the shrine is almost like at a festival, a matsuri, as there are street food vendors all around the shrine. 


According to the statistics, during the first three days of the year, over one million people visit Yasaka Shrine. Yasaka Shrine is open 24 hours every day, but you should get to the shrine at around 6 a.m. if you want to beat the crowds. 

Good for: Finding a partner, good connections, business, school examinations. 

1Fushimi Inari Shrine

Everyone knows Fushimi Inari Shrine, and it’s also the most popular place in Kyoto for hatsumode. The temple has 1300 years of history, and it’s a place where you can pray for your crops and success for your business. In the first three days of the year, 2.7 million people visit the shrine, so the area around it will get very crowded. 


After praying at the main hall, you can walk through the thousand torii gates of the shrine and start the year 2018 in style! 

Good for: Wealth, businesses. 

Vanessa[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ] STAFF DETAIL
Have you already chosen which shrine you’re going to go for hatsumode? No matter which one you choose, it’s going to be really crowded, so I recommend you go really early or late. This is a great chance to get to experience a Japanese tradition firsthand, so I wish you will go and try it, and I also want to wish a Happy New Year to all our readers!
Related keywords
All Things To Do Temples & Shrines All Kyoto Area

Page Top