“Hatsumoude(初詣)” is a traditional Japanese event to visit a shrine or temple for the first time in the new year

Hatsumoude(初詣)” is a traditional Japanese event to visit a shrine or temple for the first time in the new year. “Hatsumoude” is the first time you visit a shrine, so you don’t necessarily have to go on January 1st.

The purpose of “Hatsumoude” is to express gratitude for the past year and pray for a safe new year.

Hatsumoude” in English, we say “The first shrine (temple) visit of the year” or “The new year’s visit to a shrine (temple)”.

It is said that the origin of “Hatsumoude” is the Heian period custom called “Toshigomori(年籠り)”. “Toshigomori” is an event in which people stay at a shrine from the evening of December 31 (New Year’s Eve) to the morning of New Year’s Day to pray for a good harvest and safety in the New Year. Over time, this “Toshigomori” has been divided into “Joyamoude(除夜詣)”, which is a visit on New Year’s Eve, and “Ganjitsumoude(元日詣)”, which is a visit on New Year’s Day. 

Do you know what kind of etiquette there is for “Hatsumode“? Let’s check it out.

Manners when visiting the shrine

The shrine has a “Torii(鳥居)” gate. Since the “Torii” gate separates the sanctuary, bow once before entering. Before worshiping, purify your hands and mouth by performing “Temizu(手水)”.

How to cleanse

1. Hold the ladle with your right hand and scoop some water, then pour water over your left hand to cleanse it.

2. Switch the ladle with your left hand and pour water over your right hand.

3. Hold the ladle with your right hand, take a little water with your left palm, put it in your mouth, and gently rinse your mouth out. Do not make noise or put your mouth directly on the ladle.

4. Sprinkle some water on your left hand, then hold the ladle upright and rinse the handle with the remaining water.

5. Put the ladle back in place.

Worship procedure

1. Gently insert the coin in an offertory box.

2. Ring the bell.

3. Bow twice.

4. Clap twice in front of your chest.

5. Put your hands together and pray.

6. Put your hands down and bow once.

By when should we go?

It is said that it is desirable to go from January 1st to January 3rd, but it is said that it is better to visit “Matsunouchi(松の内)” at the latest. ”Matsunouchi” is a period. The period differs depending on the region, and is said to be until 1/7 in Kanto and 1/15 in Kansai.

Where should we go?

For New Year’s visit, it is recommended to go to a local guardian deity or a temple that has been indebted to your family for generations. However, in recent years, more and more people are going to famous shrines and temples, and it is true that the connection with shrines and temples is fading.

In fact, it is often crowded during the New Year’s visit, so it is recommended that you visit with plenty of time to spare.

“Torii” Gate



英語で”The first shrine(temple) visit of the year”もしくは”The new year’s visit to a shrine(temple)”と言います。









4. 左手に少し水をかけたら、ひしゃくを立てて残った水で柄を流します。

5. 柄杓を元の場所に置きます。













Japanese Culture