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Hatsumode in Fukuoka 2024

Discover Oshogatsu: Celebrate New Year’s Eve the Japanese Way in Fukuoka

For many of our readers, celebrating New Year’s Eve in Japan may be a novel experience. It’s a splendid chance to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Japanese traditions.

Oshogatsu, the Japanese New Year, bears a heartwarming resemblance to Western Christmas traditions. It’s a time for sending heartfelt nengajo (New Year cards) to friends and family, gathering for sumptuous traditional meals known as osechi-ryori, and embracing a spirit of unity and optimism for the year ahead.

A quintessential aspect of the Japanese New Year is hatsumode – the inaugural visit of the year to a shrine or temple. This practice is not just a spiritual journey but also a social experience. Many shrines host grand ceremonies, open to everyone, offering a unique opportunity to mingle with locals and soak in the New Year ambiance.

Fukuoka, with its diverse range of shrines, from grand and renowned to quaint and modest, offers a unique experience. In Western Japan, there’s a custom of visiting three different shrines within the first three days of the New Year. Whether it’s a neighborhood shrine or one of the more famed ones, Fukuoka Now has curated a list of fifteen must-visit shrines in and around Fukuoka City for your spiritual journey!
Large map – Hatsumode Guide 2024

Torikai Hachimangu Shrine, 鳥飼八幡宮

Special New Year Rituals to Look Out For:

– Saisakimode: A pre-New Year ritual for ushering in good fortune and a prosperous start. It involves staggered worship sessions for an auspicious beginning.

– Oharae-shiki (Purification Festival): This important ritual is conducted for spiritual cleansing. It allows participants to wash away any misdeeds or errors from the past year and to pray for health and success in the upcoming year.

– Joyasai (New Year’s Eve Festival): Held on New Year’s Eve, this ceremony is a time of gratitude for the safety and peace experienced in the past year, and a prayer for continued well-being in the year to come.

– Saitansai (New Year’s Day Festival): A day of prayer for the nation’s prosperity, the well-being of the Imperial family, and a bountiful harvest.

Embark on this cultural pilgrimage and start your New Year with a uniquely Japanese experience!

Chuo Ward, Fukuoka

Gokoku Shrine (護国神社)

Nestled in the heart of the Fukuoka urban area lies an enchanting artificial forest, carefully cultivated from approximately 3,000 donated trees. This serene grove serves as a guardian for the bustling cityscape. Here, within the hallowed precincts of the shrine, one can find solace from the clamor of daily life, embraced by an atmosphere of tranquility and refreshment.

A majestic torii gate, crafted from Japanese cypress, stands proudly on the Kokutai Road side. Towering at a height of 13 meters and with a diameter of 160 cm, it ranks among Japan’s most impressive. Although currently undergoing renovations, this iconic gate is poised to be unveiled in its renewed splendor, ready to welcome worshippers as they usher in the New Year.

Gokoku Shrine, 護国神社

New Year’s Events:
12/31 (Sun.): Oharae (purification ritual) 14:00~, Joyasai 15:00 *ritual only – closed to public
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Saitansai 0:00~ *ritual only – closed to public
1/2 (Tue.): Futsukasai (second day of the year event) 8:30~ *ritual only – closed to public
1/3 (Wed.): Genshisai (New Year event) 8:30~ *ritual only – closed to public
1/7 (Sun.): Nanakusa Festival 10:00~
*Attendees will get Nanakusa Mochi instead of Nanakusa-gayu (2 pieces, ¥500 with a lucky charm, limited quantities)

• Saisakimode: Mid-Dec.~
• New Year opening hours: 24h
1-1-1 Ropponmatsu, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
• Access: 15 min. on foot from Ohori Park Subway Sta., 8 min. from Ropponmatsu Subway Sta., in front of Gokoku Jinja-mae Nishitetsu Bus stop.

Kego Shrine (警固神社)

This shrine was moved to its present location next to Kego Park in 1608. Though it stands amongst the office buildings and department stores of Tenjin, it retains a calm atmosphere, making it popular with elderly visitors who come here to rest during the day.

Kego Shrine, 警固神社

Kego Shrine, 警固神社

New Year Events:
12/31 (Sun.): Oharae (purification ritual)
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Saitansai 0:00~ *ritual only – closed to public
1/3 (Wed.): Genshisai (New Year event) *ritual only – closed to public

• New Year opening hours: 1/1 0:00~21:00, 1/2, 1/3 6:00~21:00
2-2-20 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
• Access: 3 min. on foot from Tenjin Subway Sta., 1 min. on foot from Nishitetsu Fukuoka (Tenjin) Sta.

Torikai Hachimangu Shrine (鳥飼八幡宮)

This shrine is worshipped as the tutelary god shrine in west Fukuoka, with three enshrined deities: Ojin Tenno (Emperor Ojin), Jingu Kogo (Empress Jingu) and Tamayori Hime (Princess Tamayori), the god of matchmaking. People come to pray to the shrine’s “Musubi-no-kami” – God of connections, fortune, ties and matrimony – for good relations and luck in marriage, work, family, study, health and longevity.

Torikai Hachimangu Shrine, 鳥飼八幡宮

New Year’s Events:
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Shinnensai 0:00~
1/3 (Wed.): Genshisai 11:00~ *ritual only – closed to public

• New Year opening hours: 24h
2-1-17 Imagawa, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
• Access: 1 min. on foot from Jigyo Nishitetsu bus stop, 6 min. on foot from Tojinmachi Subway Sta.

Hakata Ward, Fukuoka

Kushida Shrine (櫛田神社)

Kushida Shrine, fondly referred to as “Okushida-san” by Hakata locals, stands as one of the most iconic shrines in the area. First established in 757, it has since become a beloved landmark. The shrine is not only a spiritual center but also the heart of local culture, as it marks the starting point of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival – one of the most vibrant and significant festivals in Hakata. Visitors can admire a float from the Yamakasa festival, which is on display for most of the year, except in June.

The allure of Kushida Shrine extends far beyond its historical and cultural significance. Every year, during the first three days of the New Year, the shrine witnesses a remarkable influx of over 150,000 visitors. These individuals come to offer their first prayers of the year, seeking the shrine’s renowned blessings. Believed to grant a myriad of boons, from business success to enduring health and longevity, Kushida Shrine remains a pivotal spiritual destination in Hakata, deeply woven into the fabric of the local community.

Kushida Shrine, 櫛田神社

New Year Events:
12/31 (Sun.): Oharae (purification ritual) 16:00~, Joyasai 23:00~ *ritual only – closed to public
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Saitansai 0:00~ *ritual only – closed to public
1/3 (Wed.): Genshisai (New Year event) 10:00~ *ritual only – closed to public

• New Year opening hours: 24h
1-41 Kamikawabata-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
• Access: 5 min. on foot from Gion or Nakasu-Kawabata Subway Sta.櫛田神社

Sumiyoshi Shrine (住吉神社)

Established over 1,800 years ago, this shrine is reputed to be the first among 2,129 Sumiyoshi Shrines nationwide. Nestled in a serene forest, its expansive grounds feature several notable sights. These include the Sumiyoshi Shrine’s main hall, a national Important Cultural Property, the Noh theater – a Fukuoka City tangible cultural property, and the ‘Ancient Sumo Wrestler Statue’, a masterpiece by famed Hakata doll artists Nakamura Shinkyo and Hiromine. Lovingly known as ‘Sumiyoshi-san’, it holds a special place in the hearts of the local community.

Sumiyoshi Shrine, 住吉神社

New Year Events:
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Saitansai 0:00~ *ritual only – closed to public
1/3 (Wed.): Ebisu Festival 9:00~
1/7 (Sun.): Tsuina Festival takes place, during which an event called usokae is said to cancel out lies that we made unconsciously during the year 19:00~ (Fuku Uso: ¥500)

• Saisakimode: Not decided yet
• New Year opening hours: 1/1 24h, 1/2 ~22:00, 1/3 6:00~22:00
3-1-51 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
• Access: 10 min. on foot from JR Hakata Sta. or 2 min. on foot Sumiyoshi Nishitetsu bus stop

Tochoji Temple (東長寺)

This ancient temple, founded in 806 by the esteemed Kobo Daishi after his return from the Tang Dynasty in China, is steeped in historical significance. It also holds a special place as the ancestral temple of the Kuroda clan, once the rulers of Fukuoka Castle. Today, it stands as a city-designated historical landmark.

The temple is celebrated for its collection of national treasures. Among them is the Thousand-Armed Kannon Bodhisattva, a symbol of compassion and mercy. The hexagonal Rokkakudo, a unique structure comprising a revolving sutra repository and a protective hall, adds to the temple’s architectural charm. Perhaps its most awe-inspiring treasure is the “Fukuoka Daibutsu” – the tallest wooden sitting statue in Japan. Crafted from Japanese cypress, this magnificent statue towers at a height of 10.8 meters and weighs an impressive 30 tons, embodying both spiritual significance and artistic mastery.

Hatsumode Guide, 福岡初詣ガイドPhotograph provided by Fukuoka City

New Year Events:
12/31 (Sun.): Joyasai 18:00~ *limited to the first 108 people
1/1 (Mon., hol.) ~ 1/3 (Wed.): New Year Prayer festival 12:00~

• New Year opening hours: 9:00~17:00
2-4 Gokusho-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
• Access: 1 min. on foot from Gion Subway Sta.南岳山%E3%80%80東長寺

Toka Ebisu Shrine (十日恵比須神社)

The Toka Ebisu Shrine is a revered site where two prominent deities are enshrined. Ebisu-sama (Kotoshironushi no Okami), often depicted with a sea bream and a fishing rod, is celebrated as the god of prosperity and good fortune. Alongside him, Daikoku-sama (Okuninushi no Okami) is worshipped as the deity of marriage, attracting visitors seeking blessings in love and partnership.

While a visit during Hatsumode—the first shrine visit of the year—is auspicious, Toka Ebisu Shrine holds special significance for businesspeople in Hakata. They particularly flock to the shrine from January 8th to 11th to partake in the “Toka-Ebisu Shogatsu Taisai,” a New Year’s festival steeped in tradition and blessings for prosperity.

For those seeking a piece of this sacred occasion, the distribution center for the auspicious items of the New Year Festival welcomes visitors from January 1st to January 7th. Open daily from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, it offers an opportunity to obtain sacred tokens that symbolize good fortune for the coming year.
Toka Ebisu New Year Festival

Toka Ebisu Shrine, 十日恵比須神社

New Year’s Events:
12/31 (Sun.): Oharae (purification ritual) 15:00~
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Saitansai 11:00~
1/3 (Wed.): Genshisai (New Year event) 10:00~
1/8 (Mon., hol.) ~ 1/11 (Thu.): Toka Ebisu New Year Festival 8:30~

• New Year opening hours: 9:30~17:00
7-1 Higashikoen, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
• Access: 8 min. on foot from JR Yosizuka Sta., or 4 min. on foot from Chiyo Kencho-guchi Subway Sta.

Higashi Ward, Fukuoka

Hakozaki Shrine (筥崎宮)

Hakozaki Shrine, revered as one of Japan’s three great Hachiman shrines, carries a rich historical legacy established in 923 AD. Throughout the year, it becomes a bustling center of cultural and spiritual celebration, particularly during its vibrant seasonal festivals. Among these is the Hojoya Festival, celebrated every September, which stands as one of Hakata’s grandest and most anticipated events.

The enchantment of Hakozaki Shrine extends to its serene Shinen Flower Garden, nestled within the shrine’s sacred precincts. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in the tranquility and aesthetic elegance of a traditional Japanese garden, an experience that offers a peaceful retreat and a glimpse into the artful harmony of nature and design.

Hakozaki Shrine, 筥崎宮

Tama Seseri, 玉取祭(玉せせり)

New Year Events:
12/31 (Sun.): Oharae (purification ritual) 15:00~, Namako mochitsuki (mochi-pounding) 19:00~
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Sangensai (New Year’s festival) 7:00~
1/3 (Wed.): Tamaseseri 13:00~14:30

• New Year opening hours: 1/1, 1/2 0:00~21:00, 1/3 6:00~21:00, 1/4~ 6:00~19:00
1-22-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka
• Access: 3 min. on foot from Hakozaki-Miyamae Subway Sta., 8 min. on foot from JR Hakozaki Sta., 3 min. on foot from Hakozaki Nishitetsu bus stop, 2 min. on foot from Hakozaki 1-chome JR Kyushu bus stop

Kashii Shrine (香椎宮)

Kashii Shrine, steeped in history and tradition, is believed to have been established in the year 200, marking it as a site of significant cultural importance. The shrine’s main hall, a masterpiece of the distinctive and complex “Kashii-style” architecture, is recognized as a national Important Cultural Property. This unique style, exclusive to Kashii Shrine, stands as a rare architectural gem, unrivaled throughout Japan.

Adding to the shrine’s splendor is a majestic cedar tree, venerated as a sacred entity. This ancient tree, with an impressive lifespan of over 1,800 years, captivates visitors with its magnificent spread of branches, symbolizing endurance and continuity.

To enhance the experience of visitors during the New Year, Kashii Shrine has arranged to provide real-time updates on the queue situation for the first shrine visit of the year (Hatsumode). These updates will be available every morning at 9 AM during the first three days of the New Year on their official X, ensuring a smooth and enriching visit for all.

Kashii Shrine, 香椎宮

New Year Events:
12/31 (Sun.): Oharae (purification ritual) 15:00, 16:00, Joyasai 17:00~ *ritual only – closed to public
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Saitansai 3:00~ *ritual only – closed to public

• Saisakimode: 12/23 (Sat.)~
• New Year opening hours: 24h (~1/7)
4-16-1 Kashii, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka
• Access: 4 min. on foot from JR Kashii-Jingu Sta., 15 min. on foot from JR Kashii Sta., 12 min. on foot from Nishitetsu Kashiigu-mae Sta.

Nishi Ward, Fukuoka

Washio Atago Shrine (鷲尾愛宕神社)

One of Japan’s three major Atago shrines, Washio Atago Shrine sits atop Atago Mountain (formerly Washioyama) in the Nishi ward. Commonly known as Atago Shrine, it is a fusion of Washio Shrine and Atago Shrine from the Meiji era. With a history dating back to 72 AD, it’s renowned for its cherry blossoms, vibrant autumn foliage, and as a vantage point for the first sunrise of the year. Perched on a gentle hill, it offers sweeping views of Fukuoka’s iconic landmarks, including the dome, tower, and Genkai Sea. The shrine hosts a New Year’s Day festival at 3 AM, praying for global peace and national prosperity, complemented by a ‘New Year’s Fortune Draw’ featuring lucky charms like daruma dolls and maneki-neko, with no empty tickets.

Atago Shrine, 愛宕神社

New Year Events:
12/31 (Sun.): Oharae (purification ritual) 15:00~, Joyasai 23:00~
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Gantansai (New Year’s festival) 3:00~

• New Year opening hours: 24h
2-7-1 Atago, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka
• Access: 20 min. on foot from Muromi Subway Sta., or get off at Atago Jinja-mae Nishitetsu bus stop, which drops you off at the bottom of Atago hill.

Other Shrines Around Fukuoka City

Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine (太宰府天満宮)

Dedicated to the esteemed Sugawara no Michizane, this shrine is celebrated as the abode of the deity of academics, sincerity, and cultural arts. It stands as a jewel among Fukuoka’s tourist destinations, attracting an impressive annual footfall of about 10 million visitors from all corners of Japan and around the world. The shrine’s approach is lined with charming shops, where visitors can indulge in the renowned umegae mochi and browse an array of delightful souvenirs.

In a unique twist, due to renovation works on the main hall, a temporary but strikingly distinctive hall has been erected for the next three years. This interim sanctuary, with its eye-catching green-tiled roof, offers a novel experience for worshippers and visitors, blending tradition with a touch of modern ingenuity.
The Temporary Shrine Amidst Renovation at Dazaifu Tenmangu

A Floating Forest: The Temporary Shrine Amidst Renovation at Dazaifu Tenmangu, 太宰府天満宮、御本殿大改修に伴う「仮殿」を建設

New Year’s Events:
12/31 (Sun.): Oharae (purification ritual) 16:00~, Joyasai 23:00~
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Saitansai 7:00~
1/3 (Wed.): Genshisai 9:00~
1/4 (Thu.): Onohajime Festival 9:30~
1/7 (Sun.): New Year’s Fire Festival 15:00~

• New Year opening hours: 24h
4-7-1 Saifu, Dazaifu City, Fukuoka
• Access: 5 min. on foot from Nishitetsu Dazaifu Sta.

Sakurai Shrine (櫻井神社)

In 1632, the revered Kuroda Tadayuki, second lord of the Fukuoka Domain, founded this significant shrine. Its main hall, worship hall, and tower gate are not just architectural marvels but also recognized as National Important Cultural Properties. A walk through the forest from the Kagura hall of Sakurai Shrine leads to the serene “Sakurai Daijingu,” a shrine that hosts divided spirits from both the Inner and Outer Shrines of the esteemed Ise Jingu.

The shrine is intrinsically linked to the iconic Futamigaura of Itoshima, an area symbolized by a strikingly white torii gate that stands as a sacred object of worship at the Ura Shrine of Sakurai Shrine. The two majestic rocks nearby are deeply revered: the one to the right symbolizes the male deity Izanagi-no-Mikoto, while the one to the left venerates the female deity Izanami-no-Mikoto, each embodying a significant aspect of spiritual reverence in the region.

Sakurai Shrine, 櫻井神社

New Year Events:
12/31 (Sun.): Oharai-shiki, Joyasai 22:00~ *ritual only – closed to public
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Gantansai 7:00~, Iwato Shrine opening until 1/3

• Saisakimode: 12/1 (Fri.)~
• New Year opening hours: 24h
4227 Shima-sakurai, Itoshima City, Fukuoka
• Access: From JR Chikuzen-Maebaru Sta., board a Showa Bus bound for Ito Eigyosho (via Moroyoshi, Hatsu, Nogita), get off at Sakurai, and walk 14 min.

Munaka Taisha Shrine (宗像大社)

Munakata Taisha Shrine is the collective name for three shrines: Okitsugu Shrine on Okinoshima Island,; Nakatsugu Shrine on Chikuzen Oshima Island; and Hetsugu Shrine (the head shrine) on Tashima in Munakata City, which is registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as the “Island where God resides” Munakata/ Okinoshima and related heritage.” Since it has long been a strategic point for maritime traffic with the continent, it is also worshipped as a god of traffic safety. You might see many cars with Munakata Taisha stickers in Fukuoka).

Hatsumode Guide, 福岡初詣ガイド写真提供:福岡県観光連盟

New Year’s Events:
12/31 (Sun.): Oharae (purification ritual) 15:00~
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Saitansai 9:00~
1/3 (Wed.): Genshisai (New Year event) 9:00~

• New Year opening hours: 24h
2331 Tashima, Munakata City, Fukuoka
• Access: in front of Gokoku Munakata Taisha-mae Nishitetsu Bus stop.

Kora Taisha Shrine (高良大社)

Kora Taisha, steeped in over 1600 years of history, stands as the premier shrine of Chikugo Province. The shrine’s expanse includes one of Kyushu’s most majestic shrine buildings, measuring an impressive 17 meters in width, 13 meters in height, and 32 meters in depth. It features traditional kokerabuki roofing, a method involving the layering of 2-3 mm thick boards. With its construction traced back to 1660, this shrine is not only historically significant but also recognized as a national Important Cultural Property. Every New Year’s Day, the shrine comes alive with traditional lion dances at 11:00 and 13:00, offering a unique cultural experience free for all visitors.

Hatsumode Guide, 福岡初詣ガイドPhoto from Kurume Bureau of Tourism and International Exchange

Hatsumode Guide, 福岡初詣ガイドPhoto from Kurume Bureau of Tourism and International Exchange

New Year Events:
12/31 (Sun.): Oharae (purification ritual) 15:00~ *ritual only – closed to public
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Shinkasai (sacred flame festival) 0:00~, Saitansai 7:00~ *ritual only – closed to public
1/3 (Wed.): Genshisai 7:00~

• New Year opening hours: 1/1: ~20:00, 1/2, 1/3: 6:00~20:00
1 Mii-machi, Kurume City, Fukuoka
• Access: From Nishitetsu Kurume Sta., take the Nishitetsu Bus bound for Shinai Jogakuin (via Miimachi). 20 min. walk from the Miimachi stop.

Miyajidake Shrine (宮地嶽神社)

Miyajidake Shrine in Fukutsu City, with a venerable history stretching back 1700 years, stands as the principal shrine among all Miyajidake shrines nationwide. This revered site houses some of Japan’s most remarkable cultural artifacts, including the nation’s largest ancient stone tomb, alongside imposingly large sacred Shimenawa ropes, taiko drums, and bells.

Esteemed as the deity of victory and good fortune, the shrine is a beacon of faith and spirituality, drawing over 3 million visitors each year. A highlight of the shrine’s calendar is the striking of the giant taiko drum at midnight on New Year’s Eve. This powerful, reverberating sound fills the shrine, symbolizing the ushering in of the New Year and imbuing the atmosphere with a sense of renewal and auspicious beginnings

Miyajidake Shrine, 宮地嶽神社

New Year Events:
12/31 (Sun.): Oharae, Chinkasai (Fire Prevention Festival), Joyasai 17:00~
1/1 (Mon., hol.): Saitansai 0:00~ *ritual only – closed to public

• New Year opening hours: 24h (shops close at 19:00)
7-1 Miyaji-motomachi, Fukutsu City, Fukuoka
• Access: From JR Fukuma Sta., board a Nishitetsu Bus bound for Ito Tsuyazakibashi, get off at Miyajidake-jinja-mae, or 25 min. on foot from JR Fukuma Sta.

New Year’s Lucky Charms: A Glimpse into Millennia-Old Shinto Traditions!

Shinto, with its rich history spanning thousands of years, has given rise to a myriad of auspicious practices and items. Here’s an insight into one such cherished tradition:

Omikuji – Divine Fortunes

These slips of paper, believed to carry the words of the gods, reveal individual fortunes. If your omikuji predicts misfortune, there’s a unique remedy: tie it to a pine tree within the shrine’s sacred grounds. This practice stems from a clever play on words in Japanese – “pine” (松, matsu) and “wait” (待つ, matsu). The act symbolizes leaving the bad luck behind, anchored to the pine tree, ensuring it doesn’t accompany you back home.

Hatsumode Guide, 福岡初詣ガイド


Decorative arrows, bestowed at shrines and temples as talismans to secure a year’s worth of good fortune, embody a deep-rooted tradition. These arrows, known as “Hamaya,” are not only cherished as symbols of luck but also hold cultural significance. They are customarily given as gifts to mark significant life events such as the construction of a new home or the birth of a child. As a gesture of gratitude and reflection, these arrows are traditionally returned to the respective shrine or temple in the following year, symbolizing the completion of a cycle of blessings and thanksgiving.

Hatsumode Guide, 福岡初詣ガイド


Ema, or wooden wish plaques, are a deeply symbolic tradition in Japanese shrines and temples. These plaques serve as a canvas for people to inscribe their aspirations or prayers. Rooted in the ancient practice of dedicating horses to the gods—horses being revered as sacred ‘vehicles of the gods’—this ritual has evolved. Instead of real horses, beautifully illustrated horse images on wooden plaques are now offered. Devotees purchase these ema at shrines, inscribing them with their heartfelt wishes or notes of gratitude for blessings received, and then hang them in the shrine as a reverent gesture to the deities.

Hatsumode Guide, 福岡初詣ガイド


These amulets, rooted in ancient Japanese traditions and consecrated at shrines and temples, are worn as talismans to repel misfortune and attract blessings and protection. Their variety is as diverse as the pantheon of deities and Buddhas enshrined in these sacred places, with each type of amulet tailored to specific desires and needs. Whether it’s for forging connections, achieving academic success, or other personal aspirations, these amulets embody the spiritual essence and protective power of the divine, catering to the unique wishes of individuals seeking their aid.

Hatsumode Guide, 福岡初詣ガイド

OSHOGATSU TIP! The Right Way to Pray at a Shrine

It looks easy, but there is proper protocol. Practice these steps and pray like a pro!

1. お清め Okiyome (Preparation)
Approach the shrine’s torii gate with respect, beginning with a bow. Remember to walk on the left side, as it’s believed the gods traverse the center path. Make your way to the temizuya, or stone basin, and take a hishaku (ladle) in your right hand, filling it with water. Begin the purification ritual by pouring water over your left hand, then switch hands to cleanse your right hand. Next, pour water into your left palm, and use it to rinse your mouth discreetly. After rinsing, wash your left hand again. To conclude, pour the remaining water down the handle of the ladle to cleanse it for the next person. Place the ladle back, facing down, and then proceed towards the shrine, continuing your spiritual visit.

Hatsumode Guide, 福岡初詣ガイド

2. 二拝 Nihai (Two bows)
Toss a coin into the saisen bako (wooden box) to resolve yourself of sins, ring the bell if there is one and bow deeply twice.

Hatsumode Guide, 福岡初詣ガイド

3. 二拍手 Nihakushu (Two claps)
Clap your hands together twice, your right hand slightly lower so the fingers reach the top joints of your left hand. Eyes shut and head bowed, express a silent prayer of thanks to the gods for last year’s fortunes.

Hatsumode Guide, 福岡初詣ガイド

4. 一拝 Ippai (One bow)
Bow respectfully once more. After leaving through the torii, turn back to the shrine and bow one final time.

Hatsumode Guide, 福岡初詣ガイド

>> View the Hatsumode in Fukuoka Map on this larger map

Originally published in Dec. 2016, updated Dec. 2023.
Copyright Fukuoka Now – including all text, photos and illustrations. Permission required to re-use in any form. Meanwhile, feel free to link to this page.

NOTE: The information presented here was gathered and summarized by the Fukuoka Now staff. While we have done our best to check for accuracy, there might be errors and details may have changed. If you notice any errors or changes, please contact us.

Art & Culture
Seasonal Guide
Fukuoka Prefecture
Published: Dec 20, 2023 / Last Updated: Dec 20, 2023

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