What does the word “New Year” mean to you? In some cultures, the first thoughts that come to mind might be watching fireworks, or going to a party. For others, the date means visiting family, or making a yearly resolution. For many Japanese, the New Year is synonymous with “hatsumode,” the first shrine visit of the year. For hatsumode, people in Japan visit shrines and temples during the first three days of the year, waiting patiently in long lines to begin their New Year with good fortune.


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