Oshogatsu 1: The local shrine and temple

In Japan, one of the most important times of the year is the Japanese New Year, or Shogatsu.  This holiday period lasts from December 29th to January 4th, with January 1st being the most important day.  On this day, most families get together and visit while eating and drinking.  They often go to a temple or shrine to pray and wish for a good new year, often getting their fortune (omikuji) or charms.  Children receive money from relatives, which I guess is kind of like my usual Christmas.  People usually eat osechi, which is Japanese traditional New Year’s food.  I’m not particularly fond of it, though.  Extremely bland for the most part, and my wife doesn’t seem to like much of it, either.

However, this year’s New Year for us was nothing like last year’s.  Last year, we visited my wife’s family.  This year, due to the baby’s incorrect positioning and a visit to the clinic on January 1st, we went with shrines and temples.  We visited a lot of them!  For this post, I’m going to show you January 1st’s temple and shrine visits near our home.  Parts 2-5 will feature the four places we visited in Kamakura on January 3rd.

We first visited a small temple near the Hikichigawa river called Jishouin (自性院).  It was very quiet, with us being the only people there.  We didn’t stay long, but I took a few pictures.

This is the entrance to Jishouin.

On the right side, we see this.

Here's the main temple building. It's not impressively large, and doesn't seem busy at all.

Another temple building.

I guess we were somewhat disappointed.  We’d heard a bell ringing, so we thought this was the place, but while we were there, we heard the bell again.  We saw where it was coming from, across the river and up the hill.  So, we went to a shrine that we had no idea was even there!  Nice surprise!  What we found was Sawa Daimyoujin (佐波大明神).  There were people there!  We even bought a couple of fortunes (omikuji).  Mine was just okay.  Anyway, here are the pictures.

This is the entrance and torii to Sawa Daimyoujin. Plenty of lanterns were hanging for the New Year.

A closer look at the torii.

That's the main shrine building.

Getting a bit closer. It's open for the New Year's prayers.

After praying at the shrine, people were ringing this large bell. Wish I'd tried it.

These lights have been at many shrines during the New Year holidays.

That’s it for part 1.  Coming soon is part 2 of this Oshogatsu series.


Filed under Festivals & Events, Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Shrines, Temples

9 responses to “Oshogatsu 1: The local shrine and temple

  1. This is a strange sight not to see any people in your pictures in a shrine or temple during New Years Day! I went to Hie Shrine in Tokyo this year and it was packed (and don’t even ask me about the time I went to Meiji Shrine on New Years Day).

    • These are a pretty minor temple and shrine near my home. Actually, the shrine just a block from my home was quite busy New Year’s Eve and early New Year’s Day. But just wait until part 2 of my Oshogatsu posts. We went to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu!

      You were in Tokyo for New Year’s this year?

  2. They ate nice photos and visit shirne and temple. There aren’t any people in a tiny shrine but it’s good because it’s not crowded and has good atmosphere.

    • It seemed peaceful. But my local shrine was even busier, yet it was smaller. The shrine near my apartment has frequent taiko drum practice, and a local festival which is extremely small. But it’s a well used shrine, even though it’s tiny.

  3. wow, it is like a ghost town. interesting how the bell ringing led you to what appears to be a hidden gem.

  4. I’d swear we live in the same area because the shrines and stuff look EXACTLY the same but that’s true for everywhere I’ve been in Japan.

    Do you get fortune’s? Dai kichi etc….

    • I tend to see the same thing everywhere, too. But they do have their own unique atmosphere, I think.

      I got a fortune at the shrine. It was just a little lucky. Nothing much. But I did get a dai kichi at another shrine on the 3rd 🙂

  5. Pingback: 2012 in Review | Jay Dee in Japan

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