How crowded was Hatsumode at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa on New Year’s Day 2021?

Many people in Japan spent New Year’s day 2021 at home, as requested by the government in order to lessen the risk of spreading the coronavirus but crowds were evident at some major shrines and temples around the country.

Hatsumode  (初詣 ) or the first shrine or temple visit of the new year is a staple during “normal” years and shrines and temples are usually packed with people going to pray for good health, luck, and prosperity. Hatsumode is usually observed at Shinto shrines but many people also go to Buddhist temples in the first days of the new year to observe this tradition.

Below are photos taken around Sensoji (Temple) in Tokyo on January 1, 2021. Dating from the the 7th century, Sensoji is Tokyo’s most famous temple and the most popular among foreign tourists.

What was the Asakusa neighborhood like on New Year’s day 2021?

Kaminarimon Gate at Sensoji Temple, January 1, 2021. Photo by Scott Kouchi

Hatsumode at Sensoji, January 1, 2021. Photo by Scott Kouchi

5-story pagoda at Sensoji Temple. January 1, 2021. Photo by Scott Kouchi

People looking at omikuji fortunes at Sensoji Temple. January 1, 2021. Photo by Scott Kouchi

Nakamise shopping street, which leads to Kaminarimon Gate and Sensoji Temple. January 1, 2021. Photo by Scott Kouchi

Street near Sensoji Temple. January 1, 2021. Photo by Scott Kouchi

Street near Sensoji Temple. January 1, 2021. Photo by Scott Kouchi

Nakamise shopping street, January 1, 2021. Photo by Scott Kouchi

Chozuya (Shinto water ablution pavilion) at Shinobazu Pond in Ueno. Photo by Scott Kouchi

Sign at a chozuya (Shinto water ablution pavilion) at Shinobazu Pond in the Ueno neighborhood of Tokyo. The sign says that drinking ladles have not been provided in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and asks people to use their hands to drink the water directly. Photo by Scott Kouchi


Lead photo: Nakamise shopping street, leading to Sensoji Temple, January 1, 2021, photo by Scott Kouchi


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