Tokyo 2014! Hatsumode at Sensoji Temple

On our final morning in Tokyo, we joined the New Year’s Day masses and headed out to Asakusa to join in the hatsumode festivities at Sensoji.

I was expecting a crowd, but not like this!  It was the most calm, collected, and organized crowd I’ve ever experienced, anyway.  I don’t think Japanese people ever get annoyed or flustered.  They are without a doubt the calmest, most patient and polite group of people I have ever encountered.

It took a good while to get to the main gates to Sensoji, where there were even more crowds waiting to get to the actual temple gates.  We had a late flight, so we didn’t mind waiting!

The crowds packed down Nakamise, Sensoji’s old-time shopping street.

There were all kinds of traditional sweets and handmade crafts for sale.

After at least an hour of slow and steady shuffling, the temple was finally in sight.

From here, the crowds diverged into a few different lines; some people paid to write prayers on cards, others went up into the temple to pray.  Since we weren’t there for religious reasons, we asked a nice police officer to let us exit the line, and enjoyed walking around the temple grounds instead.

There were loads of tents set up all around the temple, mostly selling okonomiyaki and takoyaki, but there were some novelties mixed in, too.

Like these pink and purple striped bananas!

Fish on sticks!  I’ve never seen them cooked like this anywhere before.

Eoin treated himself to one and said it was delicious; he basically ate the entire thing!

Handmade daruma dolls to bring good luck in the New Year.  You think of a goal and draw one eye on the doll; when you’ve accomplished your goal, you draw in the second eye!  I think our goal for this year is to spend more time in Japan.  We love you, Japan!


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