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Updated: November 27, 2018
Many people in Japan visit a shrine or temple on the night of December 31. Amidst the sound of a bell ringing exactly 108 times, people welcome the New Year by offering up their prayers. This practice is called hatsumode. Another common pattern is to celebrate New Year's Eve at home, and perform the hatsumode on January 1, 2 or 3. People often complete the day by hitting the shops for January sales, or heading to another special event. It's an extremely memorable time of year.
Meiji-jingu Shrine attracts the greatest number of New Year's visitors anywhere in Japan. As many as 3 million people pass through its gates between New Year's Eve and January 3. There is no other gathering this large in Japan, and it only happens once a year in Tokyo.
Be a part of the tradition, and pray for health and good luck in the year ahead.
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