With sparkling lights and decorations everywhere, the holiday season is nearly here. The year is flying by, and before we know it, Christmas will be overtaken by New Year’s prep and planning.

Japan is a nation deeply committed to celebrating the refreshing start of the new year, and we’re sure that New Year’s Day 2017 will once again welcome heaps of Japanese tradition and culture.

Known as hatsumode — the first visit of the year to a shrine – has significant meaning in Japanese culture. By joining hands together at a shinto shrine and wishing for a year of happiness, health, prosperity, and good fortune for oneself and loved ones, hatsumode helps the Japanese feel a sense of protection and motivation to embark on a fresh new year.

This well-established custom is an event many look forward to, as pathways to shrines are filled with food stands on both sides, each offering a variety of treats and beverages that’ll keep you in holiday spirits as you withstand the cold and make your way through the everlasting queue of enthusiastic visitors.

For those opting for a memorable hatsumode experience this year, we recommend Meiji Jingu — not just because it’s famed for being the most visited shrine on New Year’s Day all throughout Japan — but because the crystal-blue illuminations that light the pathway will be enough to take your mind off the busy, elbow-bumping crowd.

From its launch November 22, the event, entitled Blue Grotto SHIBUYA NEW YEAR WALK, has already had more than 600,000 visitors in just two weeks. In response to the great enthusiasm, the 550,000 blue LED lights will be lit all through the night from 5 p.m. on December 31 to 5 a.m. on January 1. Lighting up the path that starts from Shibuya Crossing to the zelkova tree-lined avenue of Yoyogi Park in bright blue, the event is sure to light up the festive spirits of hatsumode visitors.


For more information, visit PR TIMES (Japanese Only)