This picture was taken on the shrine grounds. There were many stands selling a variety of food and some toys. Very much like any other festival. I wasn’t expecting that, it was a welcomed surprise though.
Getting closer to saying our prayers! How to pray at a Shinto shrine: throw money into the “bin” or whatever they call it. Ring the bell. Bow. Clap twice. Pray (which I did very quickly). Bow again.
After everyone said their prayers, we went and got our “fortunes” mine was good (third from the best). You can keep your fortune or tie it to the post like this:
Next, everyone rushed over to buy good luck charms. Each one is very specific so I didn’t want to get one that didn’t apply to me. I asked my friends for help deciphering but I was shoved so many times I decided to give up on the charm. I know, Japanese people shoving? They do it! They are very serious about their charms! A lot of them are for students to get good grades and pass exams.
I had always wanted to go to a Shrine in Japan on New Year’s Day. This was a great experience and I was so happy to spend a traditional New Year’s with my friends!