Hatsumode at Fushimi Inari Shrine

Greetings from Kyoto

Hatsumode is the Japanese custom of visiting a Shinto shrine for the first time in the new year – usually on New Year’s Day. This year, I went to Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine, in the south of Kyoto city. This shrine’s characteristic feature is the countless torii gates along the walking path that are lined up creating a tunnel through the mountain forest.

Throughout the entire country there are about 40,000 Inari Shrines and this shrine is the head shrine of them all. For hatsumode (初詣) in the Kinki region (Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara prefectures), Fushimi Inari Shrine gathers the most hatsumode worshippers.

Originally, this shrine was dedicated to good production of rice. However, as Japan has changed, this shrine is visited by people praying for prosperity in their business. Every year I go to this shrine to pray for prosperity my business in the coming year. Japanese also usually do o-mikuji fortunes (おみくじ) at hatsumode. This year I drew the sue-kichi (末吉) lot. It is not so bad, but not so good either. So, I will work hard this year!

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