Katori Shrine in Chiba Prefecture – a Must Go Place on the New Years Day!



There is a traditional habit called Hatsumode(初詣) in Japan. Hatsumode means “the first visit to the Shrine or Temple”. Many Japanese people go to Shrine or Temple during the first three days of January and wish for good luck in the New Year. Why don’t you join this traditional event at Katori Shrine – one of the oldest shrines in Chiba Prefecture? There, you can experience traditional Japanese custom for the New Year. Let’s take a closer look at Hatsumoude at Katori Shrine.

What is “Hatsumode”?

Hatusmode is a traditional Japanese custom. Japanese people go to Shrine or Temple with their friends or family on the first three days of the New Year. The origin of Hatsumode comes from “Toshigomori” (年籠り)、when people stay in the shrine or temple from the end of the year to the new year. It is more common to go to a shrine rather than a temple for Hatsumode. Nowadays, it does not really matter which one you should visit for Hatsumode. If you are going to visit the Katori Shrine for Hatsumode, there are several rituals that you have to follow. Those are not religious but became habits when people visit to the shrine. You have to wash your hands and mouth at the small pavilion with a basin right after you walk through the gate. And here is the video (in Japanese) for you to learn how to deal with all rituals at a shrine.

About Katori Shrine

Katori Shrine locates in Chiba prefecture. This is one of the oldest shrines existing from 660 B.C. according to the biography of the shrine. Other than Katori Shrine, there are only two shrines which were built around the same time as Katori Shrine in Japan. They are Ise Shrine in Mie prefecture and Kashima Shrine in Ibaraki prefecture. Kashima shrine worships Futsunushi no Okami (経津主の大神) – the legendary god who suppressed the malevolent gods. Warriors admired Kashima Shrine and visited it before important battles. The main shrine at the site is an important cultural property. Also, the shrine keeps important cultural assets such as a bronze mirror with the design representing animals and grapes and historical ceramic wares.

Hatsumode at Katori Shrine

You can go for Hatsumode to Katori Shrine from January 1st to 5th. You can take a cab or a free shuttle bus to the shrine from Sahara Station during this period of time. There will be food booths lined up at the venue. You should try Japanese traditional festival food while you walk around the shrine. Katori shrine is a very famous shrine and over 500 thousand people visit it for the Hatsumode period. It takes quite long to get to the main shrine especially for the first three days of the New Year. So, please wrap yourself up with a warm jacket not to catch a cold in the long line for Hatsumode.

Things to Do Around Katori Shrine

Since many commercial facilities are closed for the New Year holidays in Japan, there are not many things you can do while you visit Katori Shrine. You can stroll around the historic streets of Kagawa, where you can see many preserved Japanese buildings from the Edo period. Or you can bring yourself to Katori Iris Park and enjoy nature in the cold fresh air.

Access and Details

Dates: January 1st 0:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
January 2nd to 5th 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Venue: Katori Shrine

Address: 1697-1 Katori, Katori 287-0017, Chiba Prefecture


By Car

About 13 minutes cab ride from Sahara station.

By Shuttle Bus

About 13 minutes bus ride from Sahara Station. Transportation will be provided only for three days from January 1st.

Closing Remarks

Katori Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan. Over 500 thousand people visit Katori Shrine for Hatsumode. Hatumode is a very traditional custom. Joining Hatsumode at Katori Shrine will leave a memory from your trip.

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Yogi and Snowboarder. Love to explore nature and to meet new people. Currently, residing in the Kansai area in Japan.

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