It’s a tradition in Japan to visit a shrine or temple during the first few days of the new year (called hatsumode). Many people go right at midnight for the ringing of the big bell to herald the transition from one year to the next, but it’s too cold and too late for me. I slept in and ate all day yesterday.
For my hatsumode, I visited Kawasaki Daishi this morning. Though it’s one of the most popular places for these beginning-of-the-year visits, I don’t think many people outside Japan have heard of it, especially in comparison to the more famous Asakusa temple and Meiji Jingu shrine in Tokyo.
My last visit was two years ago, as I was in Papua New Guinea last year, sitting on the balcony of a friend’s apartment overlooking Port Moresby Harbour.
Below is a video of some of the sights and sounds from this morning that’ll hopefully give you a flavour of what it’s like. The full-size version is here. If you have a slow internet connection, let the video buffer before you play it.