Almost all Japanese make the first visit of the year to a Japanese temple for praying. It doesn't matter though when exactly one should visit it, but lots of people prefer to go on the the New Year day or first few days after it.
Today we made the first visit of the to a Japanese temple. Hiro avoided the crowds during New Year period so we thought today was perfect. We chose Meiji Jingu nearby Harajuku station because it's the closest big Japanese temple for us. We were welcomed by huge gate, literary written as the biggest temple gate all over Japan, and must walk for about 1 km to be able to reach the main temple. There were a lot of big trees along the rocky path, gave me a thick "nature" feeling in the middle of busy-and-full-of-skyscrapers-Tokyo.
This is the gate to the main temple:
Before entering the temple we must "clean" ourselves from dirt. Symbolically by washing our hands and rinsing our mouth, but this time we just washed our hands a little.
Little Iki also got his hands cleaned with that very cold water
And then we entered the main temple. At first we threw some coins into the wooden boxes in front of us, clapped our hands twice, and prayed our wish of this year. After I did my part then Hiro gave me a late warn: "YOU MUST TAKE OFF YOUR GLOVES!!". A very nice late information (@_@)!
Iki throwing away coin into the wooden box
After that we bought omikuji or poem drawing for 100 yen. Omikuji in English were available too, considering the large amount of foreigner visiting the temple.
The omikuji we got at Meiji Jingu was composed, in the traditional 31 syllables form, by either the Emperor Meiji or the Empress Shoken. Those imperial poems express ethical admonitions in the Shinto tradition.
This is Iki's picture when taking omikuji for Hiro:
And this is what is written in my omikuji:
Toki osoki tagaiwa aredo tsuranukanu
Koto naki monowa makoto narikeri
Some are fast, some slow,
But one thing never fails
To pierce through the final goal:
It is sincerity
It does have a deep meaning for me :)
It was an unbelievably 6 hours trip! And it was a big mistake to wear high heels :p