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Hatsumōdë: The Visitors’ View

In my last post, I reported on Jinja Shinpō’s hatsumōdë survey of about 400 priests across the country. They also conducted an online survey of about a thousand “ordinary” Japanese, to see how they had handled hatsumōdë this year. The first result they reported is that 78.2% of them had come across the encouragement to spread out hatsumōdë visits. That advertising campaign really does seem to have been effective, which underwrites the complaints made by rural priests, reported in my last post, that it was too much “one size fits… Read More »Hatsumōdë: The Visitors’ View

Hatsumōdë: The Big Picture

This year’s hatsumōdë was, thanks to COVID-19, very different from most years. I have already written about some of the early reports, but Jinja Shinpō has now completed a survey of its local contacts, which means that it has responses from over 400 priests from across Japan, covering a wide range of types of jinja. The results show that, unsurprisingly, the impact of the pandemic varied a lot from jinja to jinja. The simplest statistic is that about 80% of jinja reported at least some fall in hatsumōdë visitors over… Read More »Hatsumōdë: The Big Picture

Hatsumōdë Reports

Last week’s Jinja Shinpō contained the first official report on this year’s hatsumōdë, with a suggestion that there would be further articles once the reporters had heard from some smaller jinja around Japan, and had time to build up something of an overview of the country. This year is likely to have been bad, however, and not just because of the pandemic. Some regions had unusually heavy snow, which made it physically difficult to get to some jinja. The overall picture was that jinja saw massive reductions in visitor numbers… Read More »Hatsumōdë Reports

Hatsumōdë Under COVID

In normal years, hatsumōdë mainly happens in the first three days of the year, and they are over, so we are starting to hear how that period was different this year. And it was different. To start with the least surprising one, reports say that Meiji Jingū in Tokyo has had about 20% of its normal visitors. It normally has about three million, so that’s still a lot, but the jinja is also pretty big. I hear from someone who was there that the precincts felt empty on the first.… Read More »Hatsumōdë Under COVID

Hatsumōdë by Setsubun

My local jinja has just put a sign up on the front of the prayer hall saying “Hatsumōdë by Setsubun”. Hatsumōdë is the first jinja visit of the new year. Traditionally, it is supposed to be done in the first three days of the year, which means that those three days have been extremely busy at most jinja; Meiji Jingū in Tokyo normally gets about three million visitors in that time. Most people just go to the jinja and pay their respects in front of the prayer hall, but quite… Read More »Hatsumōdë by Setsubun

The First New Year of Reiwa

This new year was the first new year of the Reiwa era. Although this year is Reiwa 2, Reiwa 1 started on May 1st last year, and so it did not have a New Year’s Day. Jinja Shinpō has, as normal, published a report on how things went. In general, the weather was good across most of the country, which will have been a big relief to the jinja that rely on hatsumōdë income to keep going through the year. Meiji Jingū, in Tokyo, which typically has the highest number… Read More »The First New Year of Reiwa

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