New Year 2014 in Japan: Omisoka at Sensoji + Hatsumode at Zojoji

Hatsumode (first shrine visit of the New Year) at Zojoji Temple
Happy Belated New Year 2014!!
Dear readers,
We are extremely sorry for the lack of updates, for we were so busy with everything (we still are), but we’re trying our best! 頑張って!!! ((◦ˆ ó ˆ◦)/) Anyway, here’s a post loaded with our exciting new year pics taken at Sensoji Temple the night before (31.12.2013) for the New Year’s Eve Countdown and at Zojoji Temple on the January 1st for our very first Hatsumode in Tokyo. Enjoy~~~~~ XD
Ōmisoka (大晦日), New Year’s Eve at Sensōji (浅草寺 | Asakusa Kannon Temple)
The magnificent Kaminarimon gate which become the symbol of Asakusa.
The massive crowd was expected because a lot of people (both tourists and locals) choose temples to spend their New Year’s Eve. It might be because some stores, restaurants and tourist attractions are closed between December 29 to January 4. But mostly, people were lining up to pray in the temple; the doors open when the clock strikes twelve.
We’ve done some research and decided to go to Sensoji because all the festive atmosphere and lots of people who gathered together for fun (and good luck) seemed like the perfect way to spend our New Years Eve in Tokyo!
Gojunoto – The Five-storied Pagoda – Sensoji Temple Tokyo
Welcome to… Nakamise Shopping Street!
仲見世商店街 (Nakamise Shopping Street)
Stretches over 200 meters from Kaminarimon (the outer gate) to the main temple, Nakamise shopping street is filled with those attractive shops and food stalls you often see in mangas; selling everything Japanese-related stuffs ranging from street food to omamori (lucky charms) to souvenirs to kimonos to wigs! Some say that the prices here are cheaper than other areas in Tokyo offering the same stuffs, well we think they’re just about the same with Akihabara and Tsukiji’s prices. Not much difference unless you stroll the back alleys and find smaller shops selling the same thing for 200-300 円 less. ^^ The shops open everyday from around 08:00-19:00 and most of them only accept cash. On special occassion like this, though, some shops remain open til midnight. ;D
Beautiful Geisha Dolls / Figurines
Colorful-fluffy Maneki Nekos
Teru Teru Bozu – The rain stopping dolls!
Assorted festival masks (mainly) for children. But we’ve seen teens and adults wearing them too! Lol. There are traditional ones like this Kitsune (fox) mask, but nowadays they also make Pokemon, Mickey Mouse and superhero masks like these ones:
pic credit:
Gorgeous traditional wig!!!
There are also traditional theatrical wigs for men… and they’re all so expensive (almost IDR 20,000,000 / USD 2000)! Must be crazy good quality O_O;;;
New year decoration with this year’s zodiac: “Year of the Horse“. Influenced by Chinese culture, Japanese also use the 12 animals representing each year’s zodiac. But unlike Chinese New Year which date changes every year, Japanese celebrate New Year’s Day on January 1 each year. The New Year arrow (a.k.a. Hamaya) represent protection against demon. People buy the arrow charms on the temple to dispel misfortune and to attract good luck. We also read somewhere that Hamaya is also believed to help you reach your target this year. ^^
Hello Kitty Kimono Dolls ♡♡♡
Star of the year: Kotobuki Horse Ceramic Zodiac Doll in gold and silver wishing prosperous and good luck for one year
Sake sets
Kokeshi Dolls
Ichimatsu Ningyos (dolls) that represent little girls. So cute with the kimonos and all!
Ichimatsu Ningyos (dolls) that represent little boys. While the girls were made smiling and all, these tough guys were made with macho poses, holding samurai and boasting arrogant look on their face lol.
Shuriken!!! Those famous Ninja Stars for ¥900! XD
Samurai replicas?
Cute printed Sake Cups. For ¥1050 a set, it’s a bargain!
SUPER DELICIOUS AGE MANJU (fried mochi)!!! Got the Japanese Apricot, Plain and Green Tea / Maccha. All yummyyyyyy!!! Jess liked them too, but not too much because they were too oily for her.
Omikuji section!

You can put in 100 円 into the slot (it’s optional but please don’t be a cheapskate and just put it in ^^;), pick up the metal container, shake it and ‘pour’ out one fortune stick from the container’s hole. Match the number on the stick (don’t forget to put the stick back in the container) with one of the numbers written on the drawers, open your drawer and tadah! There’s your fortune-telling paper. The Omikuji here are written in Japanese and English, so you don’t have to worry for not understanding yours lol. After reading the paper, you can either bring it home, or you can tie it to a tree or wires available near the section like this:
Some say that if you tie the Omikuji paper there, the bad luck will be dispelled and the good luck will really happen! 😀
There were also hand fortune tellers that night
♡ Food ♡
Festive Choco-Bananas!!!
Kinda feel bad for these mass-barbecued fishes.
Divine Fried Sweet Potatoes… If only we brought sambal to eat with it… Gosh.


Candy Glazed Fruits! There were Ichigo Ame (Strawberry Candy), Mikan Ame (Orange Candy), Budou Ame (Grape Candy)~
Another Choco-Bananas, with Koala’s March biscuits this time XD Japanese festivals are awesome!
Takoyaki: the making of
ODEN! ♡ Such a warm companion in the chilly weather~
On Elle: Budou Ame (ぶどう飴) – Grape Candy
On Jess: Yaki Tomorokoshi (焼きとうもろこし) – Japanese Grilled Corn on the Cob
and GOWIGASA‘s Classic Oval Japanese Coat in Grey ♡
We were sitting in one of the food stalls which had tables and chairs, enjoying our delish food and beer among the locals before the countdown started. Gotta say that it was like a rare occasion where we can see Japanese really talk and laugh out loud, enjoying themselves and their company. Because most of the time, when you see a Japanese in a public place, they would most likely be very… demure. Well, maybe a glass of beer is what it takes for Japs to start it up. ;DThe countdown went swiftly. Everybody yelled 10 to 1, and then… HAPPY NEW YEAAAAARRRRRRR!!!!!
☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆

At midnight, after the countdown, the huge bell was rung 108 times. It is said that by hearing the 108 chimes (Joya-no-kane), you will be released from the 108 troublesome earthy desires at the end of the year. After that, we were so tired already and head immediately to our hotel for a good night sleep. 🙂

Ohayo, 2014! 
Scenic Tokyo Tower. Our hotel was actually located really close to it!
At Shiba Park – Minato, Tokyo
Just a few minutes walk from our hotel, there lies Zojoji Temple, where we’re doing our very first Hatsumode (first shrine visit of the New Year)! Well actually, Hatsumode’s real meaning is ‘first Shinto shrine visit of the Japanese New Year’, but nowadays, some people visit a Buddhist temple instead and interestingly, both shrines we visited (Sensoji and Zojoji) are Buddhist temples. ^^;
Among the crowd who were lining up to pray inside the temple. We did not allowed to take photographs inside the temple, but there was this large golden Buddha statue in the center and people were tossing coins before they started praying.
This guy (and his ULTRA CUTE SHIBA INU OMG!!!!!!!) are just one of many who brought their dogs into the temple. Yup, it is apparently okay to bring your dogs here. We wished Hyde were there with us so we can make our wishes together lol. He might just wish for more wet food, though. XD
Mom + food = inseparable
Another array of the Japanese festival masks for kids. Very vibrant and interesting, no?
↑ Click play for the instavideo. 😀 ↑
Overall it was really a fresh and bright start of the year, our Hatsumode!
Went to a nearby ramen shop right after
Met this UBER CUTE BABY whose chubbiness was deliberately added with that chubby suit of his/her (didn’t ask for the gender, was too distracted by all those CHUBBINESS).
Also met this dog which looked SUPER ALIKE with Vodvod (remember her?) XD
Why so unwilling, Vodvod’s brother from another mother??
Elle’s Hatsumode Look
On Elle: Beanie and Cable Knit Lilac Tights from Shibuya 109 | Top from Topshop
Furry Baby Pink Jacket and Furry Plaid Pink Skirt from GOWIGASA (upcoming collection)
That’s all, folks! Let’s hope that 2014 will be a better, brighter year for us all! 😀


X O X O,
  1. Wonderful photos, I was in Asakusa for NYE last year, this brings back so many sights and sounds. I drew one of the best fortunes, not sure if it came true though :p

    Can't wait for your next blog!


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