As the start of the New Year, January 1st is the day for hatsumode. People pray for health, peace, and happiness. If you go to a popular shrine or temple, you are sure to be surprised by the size of the crowd. However, you do not want to let this make you go home discouraged. You will feel a sense of accomplishment and peace after offering a prayer for good health. If you just cannot handle large crowds, then we recommend visiting early in the morning (between 6:00 and 9:00) when there are fewer visitors.
It is more exciting and fun if you go in a kimono. We recommend rental kimono, since they are very convenient. You will also want to stop off at the restaurants and Japanese sweets shops near the temple or shrine. Eating something delicious on New Year’s Day puts you in a good mood and makes you feel refreshed. Here we will introduce some recommended spots around the temples and shrines where people in Kyoto go for hatsumode.