One of the wonderful things about working and living in Japan is experiencing its many interesting customs and festivals. One of my favourites is 初詣, or the first shrine/temple visit of the year.
Hatsumoude is traditionally made during the first few days of the new year, at which time prayers and wishes are made for achieving specific goals (love/marriage, academic/business success, etc) or general good luck.
I am fortunate that スミス英会話長岡京 is conveniently located near the many famous temples and shrines of Kyoto. Lately, I’ve been content to make my Hatsumoude visit locally at 長岡天満宮. But as one of my 2013 resolutions is to get more exercise, this year I decided to make my Hatsumoude at 愛宕神社 on top of Mt. Atago. You probably recognize this famous bridge in Arashiyama – that’s Mt. Atago in the background.
Although wet and chilly, combining Hatsumoude with a hike was a great way to ring in the new year. I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy some exercise on Japan’s many mountains. Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy 2013!