There it is, the new year. By now, most of us (including me) have recovered from whatever alcohol poisoning we obtained, and are ready to welcome 2017.
We actually derived from our usual plans and went to celebrate at Mito Hachimangu. We have been quite early – actually we were almost the first – and hence I was able to walk around a bit and take a couple of pictures. The shrine itself is not the most popular place for new year, that’s Tokiwa Jinja, but I became crowded quite soon anyway.
The way leading up to the shrine is lined with many lanterns giving the whole place a festive glow.
It’s still about one hour until midnight. Most of the vendors just opened their shops and the shrine personnel is preparing for selling good luck tokens. Everything is still quiet and almost empty.
The inner sanctum is usually bright red with golden applications; in the light of the night it almost looks golden though.
In front of the shrine the good luck charms of the old year were burnt, also the little wooden boards you write your wishes on.
Several people take care, that nothing, other than what’s supposed to, will catch on fire.
Shortly before midnight the priests announced what year it is going to be (rooster) and ended the year of the monkey with a traditional change and clapping.
By this time, long lines were building up in front of the shrine.
After the first prayer, you can usually get an omikuji (good fortune), a goshuin, some other charms and token, food and drinks.
We made our way back to the kaikan, where we drank some beer and played some games. At about five o’clock we left again to drive to the ocean in Ajigaura to see the first sunrise. It didn’t take long and the beach was very crowded, even though it was still very dark.
It was about eight when we finally got back, where I immediately dropped in my bed to get some shut-eye.
It’s been a wonderful night with friends and I’m looking forward to whatever is heading our way this year.
あけましておめでとう。(Akemashite omedetou.) Gesundes neues Jahr. Happy New Year.