Many people go to a shrine and wait for the moment when it’s January 1st 0:00am. But be careful. This place will be extremely crowded. But at the same time, this is your chance to hold your girlfriend or boyfriend and hopefully, be together forever!
One more thing, you don’t have to go on January 1st. It is ok to do a first prayer (hatsumoude:初詣) any time in January.
Anyway, here is something you can do when you go to a shrine to perform first prayer of the new year
1. You can wear Japanese traditional clothes
This is the occasion when girls usually wear Japanese traditional clothes. You can also try to wear them to blend in. It looks very beautiful. I bet you know.
People around you might want to take pictures of you!
2. Try fortune telling
It is not a serious one, but it’s fun to hear how your new year will be starting. Unfortunately it’s in Japanese in most places, so better to go with a translator friend.
They are categorized into some levels. The best one is Daikichi(大吉), which means you will have good luck in the next year. Following that is, Kichi(吉), Kyou(凶), Daikyou(大凶). In fact, there are more levels between those, but it has too much detail to explain it here. Sorry. The last one Daikyou(大凶) is the not good one. However, it doesn’t mean “Oh! You will have bad luck, I am sorry. Bye bye”. There are some guides you can follow on the fortune telling paper, and you will have a good luck!
After you read and take a memo in your mind, you can tie it up on one of the tree branches to ask God to protect you from bad things. One suggestion : Try to tie up with your non-dominant hand if you have picked Kyou(凶) or Daikyou(大凶). If you succeed, your luck will be increased;-)
3. Go home straight
You get some luck and good energy at shrine on the day. But, if you stop by to have meal or game arcade, you will drop off the good stuff and no luck left when you reach home, it’s said… That’s sad, isn’t it? So I advise you to go home right away and watch comedy show eating mandarin orange in kotatsu(こたつ : Japanese foot warmer. This is super cool and I am sure you will love it) after you go to shrine:-)