New Year’s Prayer – Hatsumōde [初詣]


Hatsumōde [初詣] is the first shrine or temple prayer / visit of the New Year. Many people perform Hatsumode on the 1-3 of the new year.


Charms and Amulets

All through the year shrine sells Omamori [charms and amulets], represent protection in specific circumstances such as passing exams, traffic safety, business success, safe trip, good relationship (in love), healthy pregnancy and easy delivery.

Many people buy new Omamori [Charms and Amulets] and return the old ones to the place called Furufuda Nassho [古札納所 / old charms collecting place ] during Hatsumōde.
Omamori are commonly replaced once a year as the power of those are thought to be temporary and also showing gratitude to god for protection or luck from the previous year. Omamori are always carried or displayed constantly in sight and should never opened to avoid losing protection capacities.
*Omamori [お守り] means protection.

Hamaya [破魔矢]
Hamaya are very popular new year’s Omamori as lucky items [Engi Mono / 縁起物]. Hamaya have 2 powers that ward off evil and bring good fortune for the new year.
Eto Hamaya [干支破魔矢] come with Ema [wooden wishing plaques / 絵馬] with the animal of the year from 12 Zodiac Animals.
*Hamaya literally means evil destroying arrow.

Written Fortunes

Omikuji [written fortunes] are random fortunes written on strips of paper found at shrines and temples in Japan throughout the year. Many people draw Omikuji during Hatsumode to see how much luck there will be in the coming year.
If the prediction is bad, it is custom to tie Omikuji around the branches of trees or on ropes. (image top)
Fortune cookies are a derivative of Omikuji.
*Omikuji [おみくじ] means lottery.