Hokkaido Shrine (Hokkaido Jingu)

The Japanese are said that to be polytheistic. They celebrate Christmas but many of them also visit temples to honour their ancestors, and most Japanese also follow Shintoist traditions by visiting a shrine on New Year’s Day to pray for good fortune in the coming year.

Hokkaido Shrine is the largest shrine in Hokkaido and is situated near Maruyama Park. On New Year’s Eve it is crowded with so many people that it can be hard to move. They throw coins into the offering box as monetary gifts for the shrine, drink a bit of Omiki (sacred Sake), buy paper fortunes (omikuji) and write their wishes on a piece of wood called Ema. These are all typical elements of the Japanese New Year’s ceremony throughout the country.

Hokkaido shrine is not only a place for praying for good fortune, but is also called a “Power Spot”, a place where we can get natural powers from the Earth. Also in Spring many cherry trees beautifully bloom here, and it’s one of Hokkaido’s most popular locations for cherry blossom viewing. You can also find some plum trees near the shrine. A lot of people comes in the cherry blossom season and it’s a good chance to enjoy a beer outside together with the local delicacy known as Ghenghis Khan (Mongolian Barbecue).

This post is also available in: Japanese