Hatsumode [初詣] is the Japanese custom of visiting a shrine or temple within the first three days of the year. Some people – like we did – actually wait the New Year to roll in the temple grounds. After the 108 (fast!) gongs that signal the entrance of the New Year, you are allowed into the shrine grounds to say the first prayer of the year in Hie Jinja [日枝神社].
After the prayer you can buy good luck charms, arrows which are ammunition for the kami to protect you (or something alike), enjoy some sacred sake, get your shuin, and once you’re outside, buy food and drinks. In my case I got some fresh takoyaki and ate them alone because apparently they’re stinky ｡ﾟ( ﾟ^∀^ﾟ)ﾟ｡
Then we headed off home, and I got up at 8 am to have 12 grapes with Spanish TV as it has been my custom all my life. Then I went back to bed.
In the evening I headed off to Minato [港] to see Tokyo Tower [東京タワー]. Zojo-ji [増上寺] and Shiba Kōen [芝公園] were packed with Hatsumode parishioners and I had never seen such a line to go up Tokyo Tower. Thus I did not climb up, but I did take pictures of all the illumination around.
Afterwards I met with D****e and K***n. to go to Yokohama [横浜], to have dinner in Yokohama Chinatown, as Chinese people have their own New Year, they would be open to business as usual. It was my first time in Chinatown at night, too, so it was interesting seeing places like Kanteibyō / Kuan Ti Miao Temple [関帝廟 / 中華会館] in a new light.
On our way back we tried to see Shiodome [汐留]’s Winter Illuminations but they were off. We’re not completely sure of why…