Tokyo becomes bustling with people during the year-end and New Year holidays. Particularly, the first shrine visit of the New Year, known as “Hatsumode,” is a traditional event where many people visit shrines and temples. However, famous shrines can get extremely crowded. In this article, we introduce hidden spots for Hatsumode along the Yamanote Line, perfect for those who wish to welcome the New Year in a calm and peaceful environment.
Hidden Hatsumode Spots along the Yamanote Line
- Shinagawa Shrine (Near Shinagawa Station)
Located just a few minutes’ walk from Shinagawa Station, Shinagawa Shrine, though in the heart of the city, has a tranquil atmosphere. During Hatsumode, it attracts fewer visitors, allowing for a quiet moment to make New Year’s wishes. The shrine is surrounded by ancient trees, offering an escape from the urban hustle and bustle.
- Yoyogi Hachimangu Shrine (Near Harajuku Station)
A short walk from Harajuku Station, this shrine is set in a lush green environment, offering a peaceful contrast to the bustling city. It’s an ideal spot for those looking to avoid the crowds of Hatsumode. The proximity to Yoyogi Park makes it perfect for a reflective walk after the visit.
- Shirokane Hikawa Shrine (Near Shirokanedai Station)
Easily accessible from Shirokanedai Station, Shirokane Shrine is cherished by the local community. Despite its small size, it offers a warm and intimate atmosphere. The quiet streets of Shirokane are also worth exploring after the shrine visit.
- Meguro Fudoson (Near Meguro Station)
Close to Meguro Station, this temple is recommended for a quiet New Year’s visit. The evening illumination creates a fantastical atmosphere, perfect for welcoming the new year. Situated along the Meguro River, a post-visit stroll along the river is also recommended.
- Takanawadai Hachimangu Shrine (Near Takanawadai Station)
Within walking distance from Takanawadai Station, this shrine, located on a small hill, offers a unique view of the Tokyo skyline, including Tokyo Tower. The location is excellent for enjoying the night view of Tokyo Tower’s illumination, combining natural beauty with urban energy.
Points to Note for Hatsumode
- Avoiding Crowds: The period from New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day is particularly crowded. Even in less popular spots, choosing early mornings or weekdays can help avoid crowds.
- Dress Warmly: Hatsumode is a winter event, so dressing warmly is important. Extra precautions are necessary for evening visits.
- Health Precautions: Considering the impact of COVID-19, wearing masks and sanitizing hands are essential. Keeping a safe distance from others in crowds is also important.
Along the Yamanote Line, there are numerous hidden spots for Hatsumode. These shrines are recommended for those who want to welcome the New Year quietly. Escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and make your New Year’s wishes in peace.