New Year’s Day at the Meiji Shrine

On New Year’s Day, Shawn and I walked to the Meiji Shrine. The original Meiji Shrine was completed in 1920, but was destroyed during World War II. The current shrine was completed in 1958.

The grounds of the Meiji Shrine are covered by a 175 acre forest, which make it a peaceful destination located in the middle of busy Tokyo (except on New Year’s Day)!

Hatsumode (初詣) is the term referring to the first shrine visit of the New Year in Japan. Reportedly, over 4 million people visit the Meiji Shrine on January 1!


People waiting in line to receive their fortune for the new year…


Notice how massive and perfectly shaped the trees are…


There were so many people coming in through the main entrance, that the guards had to stage people in groups in order to filter them into the main shrine area. Thankfully, we entered through a side entrance, so we avoided waiting in line!

I love all the details you can find at a shrine.


This photo makes me laugh. Every time I look at it, the only thing I can think of are the photos of Richard Nixon doing the same thing during his presidency.

2008 is the Year of the Rat

Previous years include: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996

Characteristics of people born in the Year of the Rat:

  • Charming
  • Honest
  • Ambitious
  • Highly organized
  • Have the drive to pursue something to the end
  • Work hard to achieve their goals
  • Acquire possessions
  • Thrifty with money
  • Greed can be a problem, if priorities are not kept straight
  • Easily angered, but maintain an outward show of control
  • Selective when choosing friends
  • Love to gossip
  • Need to learn to consider others before themselves

“The Year of the Rat is also considered the year of prosperity, when stock prices mark a dramatic surge.” (Daily Yomiuri: January 1, 2008)

As we exited the shrine, the street was lined with food vendors…

I believe this is Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き)…this was one of the things we tried for lunch. It was served with an egg on top, so I didn’t really enjoy it. Surprisingly, Shawn had no problem eating it! 🙂


Stay tuned for more posts! I’m behind in blogging, so we have a bunch of pictures from temples, recipes, and other fun things to share!

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