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Published on 04.27.2016
One of the coolest things you can do during the new years day in Japan is visiting a shinto or Buddhist shrine which called "hatsumode"! But what is "hatsumode"? It is actually the first visit to a shrine on the beginning of the year, you can go in the midnight up to the 3rd day of the year. People in Japan generally do this to wish for a better year ahead and I always do it since I started living in Japan. it is actually very interesting and I`ll teach you 2 things that anyone can do!
First, let`s start with "Omikuji" which is a fortune-telling paper. You can get these in the shrine of course! you just need to go to the shrine`s stall ask for omikuji, they usually give you a long wooden canister with a small hole then you`ll have to shake it and try to get a stick out of it. the stick gives you a number then it will lead you to the box with the same number that has you "omikuji" or fortune paper. Your "Omikuji" can have "Dai-Kichi" which means the best luck, "Chu-Kichi" is good luck, "Shou-Kichi" is little luck and others. If you happen to get a bad fortune-paper or you want the temple to pray more for you, tying the "omikuji" on a tree branch is also one of the practice here! I wish you Great Luck when you try it!
Second is "Omamori" It`s a Japanese good fortune amulet. It can come in many different colors or japanese traditional designs but the shape is usually small, flat and rectangular. "Omamori" can bring different kinds of luck. for example, for love, success, money, education and many more. I usually pick the one with the nicest design (boisterous laugh). You are supposed to keep the "Omamori" in your wallet or bag for a year then change it on the next "hatsumode" for renewal of luck then give your old "omamori" away so the temple Buddhist can pray and burn it. I suggest to buy an "omamori" for a friend or a family relative to spread the good luck and it will be more meaningful to the one getting it as one of the Buddhist teaching that is to spread happiness by sharing. Have a meaningful first day of the year!