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First visit to the Shinto Shrine

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*Meiji Jingu
Many Japanese people visit a Shinto Shrine during the first three days of January in order to make traditional New Year's wishes for health and happiness. This is called Hatsumode, the first visit to a shrine. Some shrines like Meiji Jingu attract more than three million worshippears every year. Since the shrine is opened specially on the night of New Year's Eve, some people arrive there right after they hear the Joyanokane, the bell which rings out the old year. People buy Omamori, good luck charms, and Hamaya, sacred arrows, to invite good fortune and ward off evil. Visting the seven shrines of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune is also a popular New Year's tradition. By visiting all seven shrines by January 7th, people can gain seven kinds of good luck: longevity, wealth, success in business, wisdom, virtue, victory and general good luck. Hatsumode is one of the few occasions when many people wear Kimonos.

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A torii is a symbolic Shinto Shrine gate which consists of two upright pillars connected by two horizontal beams on top. It makes the entrance to a sacred area. Torii literally means "a perch for birds." It is said that they were originally perches for the roosters people offered to Shrines.

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*Hokkaido Jingu
This Shinto Shrine is called Hokkaido Jingu in Sapporo where I live. Shinto Shrines are in all cities, towns, and villages.

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People wishes for health, happiness, and the success, etc in the Shinto shrine and the temple. The box in front of people is called Saisenbako, and people throw in money called Saisen. The amount of money has not been decided though my Saisen is 1000 yen every year.

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*Women who put on Furisode
The person who puts on the kimono is seen at celebrate or in a traditional town such as Kyoto though a modern Japanese who puts on the kimono is few.

A furisode is a gorgeous kimono with long sleeves for young unmarried women. Since a furisode is considered the most formal wear, it is worn for special occasions such as wedding ceremonies, coming of age celebrations and graduation ceremonies.

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