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Hatsumode in Osaka: 10 Recommended Shrines to Visit (2021)

Hatsumode in Osaka: 10 Recommended Shrines to Visit (2021)

Date published: 24 December 2020
Last updated: 28 December 2020

Thanks to coronavirus, 2020 has made it rather difficult to go out, meet people, and attend events. However, at the beginning of the upcoming New Year, many people still want to visit a shrine to pray for peace and safety for the year and experience Hatsumode in Osaka.

Although we are still amid the coronavirus pandemic, with no clear end in sight, Osaka's temples and shrines have implemented strict measures to prevent further spread. Read on for the latest coronavirus prevention information for Hatsumode in Osaka at some popular spots!

Please remember to take proper precautions when you visit, and try to avoid crowded days and times.

*Time changes, event cancellations, and postponement may occur. Please check the latest updates on the official website before traveling.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Sumiyoshi Taisha: The Main Sumiyoshi Shrine of Over 2000 Nationwide
  2. 2. Osaka Temmangu: Dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, the God of Scholarship
  3. 3. Shitennoji: Pray for a Happy 2021 at a Famous Temple Founded by Prince Shotoku
  4. 4. Katsuo-ji Temple: Pray for Success in 2021 and Test Your Luck
  5. 5. Imamiya Ebisu Shrine: Dedicated to the God of Business and Prosperity
  6. 6. Namba Shrine: A Majestic Shrine in the Middle of the Osaka
  7. 7. Naritasan Fudoson: Where 200,000 People Visit in their Cars Every Year
  8. 8. Hiraoka Shrine: A Natural Oasis Only 10 Minutes from the City Center!
  9. 9. Hochigai Shrine: Visitors from All Over Pray for Safe Travels
  10. 10. Otori Taisha: An Old Sakai Shrine Dedicated to Yamato Takeru Nomikoto

1. Sumiyoshi Taisha: The Main Sumiyoshi Shrine of Over 2000 Nationwide

1. Sumiyoshi Taisha: The Main Sumiyoshi Shrine of Over 2000 Nationwide
The first four main shrines are called Sumiyoshi-zukuri, all of which are designated national treasures

Sumiyoshi Taisha is one of the go-to Hatsumode spots for Osaka locals, drawing in nearly 2 million visitors every year. It is a special place in the hearts of many people, not only from Osaka, but from all over.

The architectural style of the Sumiyoshi-zukuri main shrine is the oldest in the history of shrine architecture. People come here to pray for good luck, prosperity in business, traffic safety, warding off evil, happy marriage, and easy childbirth.

Every New Year's Eve, the gate is crowded with visitors. At midnight, the drums are struck, applause rings throughout, and the shrine precincts grow lively with people praying for the happiness of the New Year.

The Sorihashi Bridge (also known as Taikobashi) is a famous symbol of Sumiyoshi Shrine

All street stalls will be closed from January 1-5, 2021 as a measure against coronavirus.

Every year, the gorgeous shrine precincts are lined with stalls for hatsumode in Osaka. For 2021, however, stalls will be canceled to prevent crowding, and gates will close at 6:00PM from January 1-5. To reduce crowding during the first three days of January, visitors are encouraged to plan their Hatsumode visits on any other day until February 2 (Setsubun). Admission to shrine precincts will be limited in the event of crowding.

New Year's Holiday Hours:
・December 31, 10:00AM-January 1, 6:00PM (Closed December 31, 5:00PM-10:00PM)
・January 2-5: 6:00AM-6:00PM
・January 6: 6:30AM-5:00PM

Measures Against Covid-19:
All staff required to wear masks, wash hands, and disinfect with alcohol; acrylic plates and vinyl sheets installed as partitions at offices; disinfectant and hypochlorous acid sterilizer installed at offices; worship areas properly ventilated; ladle removed from chozuya, and bell removed from worship hall; visitors in poor condition are discouraged from entering; visitors required to wear masks and disinfect hands; Osaka Covid-19 Tracing System in use

2. Osaka Temmangu: Dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, the God of Scholarship

2. Osaka Temmangu: Dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, the God of Scholarship
The worship hall as seen from the front of Omote Daimon Gate

This old shrine, popularly known as Tenma-san, is visited by nearly 500,000 people every year on the first three days of the New Year. It is also famous for the Tenjin Matsuri, one of Japan's three major festivals held every July, which draws in over 1 million visitors.

This Temmangu Shrine, along with Kitano Tenmangu in Kyoto and Dazaifu Tenmangu in Fukuoka, enshrines the deity Sugawara no Michizane, the God of Scholarship and Fine Arts. There are also plans to hold the first Kagura performance of the New Year from January 1-3.

Omote O-mon, the main entrance to the worship hall and main shrine

Amulet office will be temporarily relocated for 2021

While there are no major changes planned for this Hatsumode in Osaka, the amulet office will be temporarily relocated for 2021 as a measure against coronavirus. You can obtain amulets from 9:00AM-5:00PM on December 31, from 12:00AM-8:00PM on January 1, from 8:00AM-7:00PM on January 2, and from 8:00AM-6:00PM on January 3. Admission to the precincts will also be limited during the New Year's holiday.

New Year's Holiday Hours:
・December 31: 9:00AM-5:00PM
・January 1: 12:00AM-8:00PM
・January 2-3: 6:00AM-7:00PM
・January 4: 9:00AM-5:00PM

Measures Against Covid-19:
All staff required to wear masks, wash hands, and disinfect with alcohol; acrylic plates and vinyl sheets partitions installed at offices; disinfectant and hypochlorous acid sterilizer installed at offices; worship areas properly ventilated; ladle removed from chozuya, and bell removed from worship hall; Nanoshield coating used in building; visitors in poor condition are discouraged from entering; visitors required to wear masks and disinfect hands; Osaka Covid-19 Tracing System in use

3. Shitennoji: Pray for a Happy 2021 at a Famous Temple Founded by Prince Shotoku

3. Shitennoji: Pray for a Happy 2021 at a Famous Temple Founded by Prince Shotoku
Shitennoji-shiki-garan: The central gate, five-storied pagoda, Golden Pavillion, and auditorium are arranged in a straight line from north to south

This is the first Japanese Buddhist temple built by Prince Shotoku in 593, and sponsored by the state. Despite being damaged by fires and disasters over the years, the reconstructed temple retains the oldest architectural arrangement style in Japan called Shitennoji-shiki-garan.

Many worshipers flock to the shrine for Hatsumode every year seeking fortune and prayers. The Taihei Tenka Memorial Service and Prayer for Disaster Relief are held from New Year's Day to January 14. On January 3, the Ganzan Daishi Prayer Ceremony is held to pray for academic achievement and the passing of entrance exams.

Please note, the Joya no Kane (New Year's Eve Bells) and Kaiun no Kane (Happiness Bells) are canceled for 2021

The main differences for this year's Hatsumode are as follows. Vehicles may not enter or park from January 1-3, 2021. Items that are normally used and touched by many people will be discontinued. The five-storied pagoda will be closed and rest areas will be unavailable. Finally, the New Year's Eve Bells, Happiness Bells, Good-Luck Bells, and Midnight Prayer will be canceled.

New Year's Holiday Hours:
Open all day

Measures Against Covid-19:
All staff required to wear masks, wash hands, and disinfect with alcohol; acrylic plates and vinyl sheets partitions installed at offices; disinfectant and hypochlorous acid sterilizer installed at offices; worship areas properly ventilated; ladle removed from chozuya, and bell removed from worship hall; discontinued use of items used by many people; visitors in poor condition are discouraged from entering; visitors required to wear masks and disinfect hands; Osaka Covid-19 Tracing System in use

  • Shitenno-ji Temple
    • Address 1-11-18, Shitennouji, Tennouji-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, 543-0051
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Tennouji Station (JR Kansai Main Line / JR Yamatoji Line / JR Osaka Loop Line / JR Hanwa Line)
      12 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 06-6771-0066

4. Katsuo-ji Temple: Pray for Success in 2021 and Test Your Luck

4. Katsuo-ji Temple: Pray for Success in 2021 and Test Your Luck
Many people come for the Winning Daruma Dolls, said to grant luck and success

Located in the center of the Minoh National Monument Park, this temple has been famously nicknamed the Temple of Victory for over 1300 years. Even warlords such as Genji and Ashikaga were known to have visited to pray for luck. More and more people are also dedicating auspicious Winning Daruma Dolls at this shrine, which remind us to "fall seven times and get up eight".

Every New Year, this shrine attracts crowds of people praying for good luck, warding off bad luck, and for success in business, exams, and more. From December 31, 10:00AM to January 5, visitors can also receive blessings from the Fukumusume, or shrine maidens, of Katsuo-ji.

Visiting period extended through Setsubun for 2021

The annual Men and Women's Kagami-biraki Ceremony and the Countdown Night Matsuri have been canceled for Hatsumode 2021.
As a measure against coronavirus, the shrine will be closed on Sundays, Saturdays, and holidays until February 3 (Setsubun). People are encouraged to relax and visit at their own pace. Visitors are requested to wear masks, disinfect their hands, and check their temperatures when visiting.

New Year's Holiday Hours:
・8:00AM-5:00PM, Saturdays: 8:00AM-5:30PM, Sundays and public holidays: 8:00AM-6:00PM
・Admission: 400 yen (high school and over); Free entry January 1-5

Measures Against Covid-19:
All staff required to wear masks, wash hands, and disinfect with alcohol; acrylic plates and vinyl sheets partitions installed at offices; disinfectant and hypochlorous acid sterilizer installed at offices; worship areas properly ventilated; ladle removed from chozuya, and bell removed from worship hall; discontinued use of items used by many people; visitors in poor condition are discouraged from entering; visitors required to wear masks and disinfect hands

5. Imamiya Ebisu Shrine: Dedicated to the God of Business and Prosperity

5. Imamiya Ebisu Shrine: Dedicated to the God of Business and Prosperity

Imamiya Ebisu Shrine is believed to have been built in the 600s, and is a popular spot to pray for prosperity in business, good luck, and traffic safety. Many people visit this shrine for their Hatsumode in Osaka.

The annual Toka-Ebisu Festival, also known as Ebessan by the locals, is held from January 9-11. Every year, this colorful New Year's tradition is celebrated over three days in Osaka - Yoi Ebisu on the 9th, Hon Ebisu on the 10th, and Nokori Ebisu on the 11th. You can receive Fukuzasa (lucky bamboo branches) during all 3 days and nights. Nearly 1 million visitors attend annually during this 3-day period.

Toka-Ebisu is crowded with visitors coming to get Fukuzasa, receive blessings from shrine maidens, and to dedicate lucky amulets

Toka-Ebisu celebrations will be dispersed for 2021

The main shrine will be limiting the number of visitors for 2021, and the ladle will be removed from the chozuya, which will be replaced with running water to rinse the hands and mouth. The bronze gongs behind the main shrine will be closed.

Several events will be canceled, such as the free Zodiac Ema (votive plaques) at midnight on January 1, and the January 3rd Osendo. Finally, the Toka-Ebisu Fukuzasa period will be extended to January 31 to give people more opportunities to visit at spaced-out intervals. You can also obtain Fukuzasa and prayer requests by mail. Please see website for more details.

New Year's Holiday Hours:
・December 31: 9:00AM-12:00AM
・January 1: 12:00AM-8:00PM
・January 2-3: 8:00AM-8:00PM
・Jan. 4-7: 8:00AM-6:00PM
・Jan. 9-11: 7:00AM-1:00AM
・Jan. 12: 9:00AM-5:00PM

Measures Against Covid-19:
All staff required to wear masks, wash hands, and disinfect with alcohol; partition sheets installed at offices; alcohol disinfectant available in offices; worship areas properly ventilated; ladle removed from chozuya, and bell removed from worship hall; discontinued use of items used by many people; visitors in poor condition are discouraged from entering; visitors required to wear masks and disinfect hands

6. Namba Shrine: A Majestic Shrine in the Middle of the Osaka

6. Namba Shrine: A Majestic Shrine in the Middle of the Osaka
The deep green shrine located on Midosuji Street in the middle of the city

Namba Shrine is an old shrine with a history of nearly 1600 years, said to have been built by Emperor Hanzei in honor of Emperor Nintoku. Various festivals are held throughout the year, including Setsubun's "Tama no Osai" (Night before Setsubun), as well as summer festivals. Many couples also have held their wedding ceremonies here for many years.

The main deity Nintoku Okami, is enshrined along with Susanoo-no-Mikoto at Bakuroinari Shrine in Setsumatsusha, where visitors flock for Hatsumode to pray for prosperous business, peace of mind, disaster prevention, and a number of other wishes.

Please note that opening and closing hours will change in 2021!

For Hatsumode 2021, worship from New Year's Eve to New Year's Day will be canceled. Please note that gates open at 6:00AM on January 1, and the amulet office will open at 7:00AM.

New Year's Holiday Hours:
・December 31: 6:30AM-6:00PM
・January 1: 6:00AM-6:00PM
・January 2: 6:30AM-6:00PM

Measures Against Covid-19:
All staff required to wear masks, wash hands, and disinfect with alcohol; acrylic plates and vinyl sheets partitions installed at offices; alcohol disinfectant available at offices; worship areas properly ventilated; ladle removed from chozuya, and bell removed from worship hall; discontinued use of items used by many people; visitors in poor condition are discouraged from entering; visitors required to wear masks and disinfect hands; Osaka Covid-19 Tracing System in use

7. Naritasan Fudoson: Where 200,000 People Visit in their Cars Every Year

7. Naritasan Fudoson: Where 200,000 People Visit in their Cars Every Year
This shrine attracts nearly 2.2 million visitors a year, of which about 750,000 visit during these three days

Naritasan Fudoson, built in 1934, is a famous temple of the Fudoson faith. Many people visit during Hatsumode for a variety of reasons, whether to pray for good luck and make a wish, or to enjoy the New Year's events such as the Traffic Safety Festival.

It is also the first temple in Japan that offers prayers for traffic safety for drivers and their vehicles. Nearly 200,000 drivers visit in their cars every year. The procession of cars gathered from all over the country to receive these blessings is a sight to behold!

The prayer hall dedicated to traffic safety can accommodate as many as 100 cars at a time

For 2021, you can receive blessings for traffic safety right from your car

At the traffic safety prayer hall, you can receive your blessings from right your car! Frequency of prayer sessions will also be increased to reduce the number of visitors per session. To avoid crowding, the regular 400-person capacity has been limited to 134, and seats are spaced apart.

New Year's Holiday Hours:
・Open all day (Main Shrine Hours: December 31, 11:00PM to January 1, 9:00PM
・January 2-3: 5:30PM-8:00PM
・January 4-7: 5:30PM-7:00PM
・January 8 and after: 5:30PM-5:30PM)

Measures Against Covid-19:
All staff required to wear masks, wash hands, and disinfect with alcohol; acrylic plates and vinyl sheets partitions installed at offices; worship areas properly ventilated; ladle removed from chozuya; discontinued use of items used by many people; visitors in poor condition are discouraged from entering; visitors required to wear masks and disinfect hands

  • Naritasan Fudoson
    成田山不動尊
    • Address 10-1 Narita Nishimachi, Neyagawa City, Osaka Prefecture 572-8528
    • Nearest Station 15-minute walk from Keihan Korien Station
    • Phone Number 072-833-8881
    • Hours: Open all day
      Admission: Free
      Regular Holiday: Open daily

8. Hiraoka Shrine: A Natural Oasis Only 10 Minutes from the City Center!

8. Hiraoka Shrine: A Natural Oasis Only 10 Minutes from the City Center!
These four main shrines, with beautiful colors and arranged parallel to each other, are called Hiraoka-zukuri (Oji-zukuri)

Hiraoka Shrine is located in Higashi-Osaka City and is famous for its plum blossoms (Hiraoka Plum Grove). The precincts are full of old, green trees, including camphor and cedars. Though all the plum trees had to be cut down in 2015 due to a virus, they were replanted again for 2021, and should be in full bloom again around spring of 2022.

Nearly 200,000 people visit the shrine every year on New Year's Day in search of good luck and an abundant harvest. A Shinto ritual called Kayu-Ura is held on January 15 to predict the years harvest, based on how much gruel is burned at the bottom of a pot after bamboo and rice are cooked by the priest.

One-way foot traffic throughout shrine during Hatsumode 2021

For Hatsumode 2021, social distancing between visitors will be maintained throughout the precincts. The front of the amulet offices will be expanded to allow visitors more room to pray, and routes will be one-way. Additionally, crowding status will be updated on the website. Visitors are encouraged to check first before heading out. Please note the Omiki no Furumai event will be canceled, and prayers will be limited to 30 people at a time.

New Year's Holiday Hours:
Open all day

Measures Against Covid-19:
All staff required to wear masks, wash hands, and disinfect with alcohol; acrylic plates and vinyl sheets partitions installed at offices; alcohol disinfectant available at offices; worship areas properly ventilated; ladle removed from chozuya, and bell removed from worship hall; discontinued use of items used by many people; visitors in poor condition are discouraged from entering; visitors required to wear masks and disinfect hands; Osaka Covid-19 Tracing System in use

  • Hiraoka Shrine
    枚岡神社
    • Address 7-16 Izumoi-cho, Higashiosaka City, Osaka 579-8033
    • Nearest Station Immediately off Kintetsu Hiraoka Station
    • Phone Number 072-981-4177
    • Hours: Open all day
      Admission: Free
      Regular holiday: Open daily

9. Hochigai Shrine: Visitors from All Over Pray for Safe Travels

9. Hochigai Shrine: Visitors from All Over Pray for Safe Travels

Hochigai Shrine, located on the border of the three political districts of Settsu, Kawachi, and Izumi, is considered to be a pure land with no direction.

Ancient custom dictates that when traveling far away, if the direction you are going in seems to be unlucky, continue your journey from a different direction. Hochigai Shrine is a special shrine for such times.

Many believe that a visit to this shrine before traveling or moving far away will help you avoid disasters. Visitors from all over the world come to pray for safety during events such as moving and construction of a new house. For the first three days of every New Year, many come to pray for direction for that year as well.

Please note, the amazake and tea ceremony events have been canceled for Hatsumode 2021, and street stalls will not be open.

The amazake and tea ceremony events have been canceled for Hatsumode 2021, and street stalls will also be closed. To prevent crowding during the first three days of January, visitors are encouraged to come for Hatsumode on other days, and to receive talismans and amulets during office hours.

New Year's Holiday Hours:
・December 31: 9:00AM-4:00PM
・January 1-3: 8:00AM-5:00PM

Measures Against Covid-19:
All staff required to wear masks, wash hands, and disinfect with alcohol; acrylic plates and vinyl sheets partitions installed at offices; alcohol disinfectant available at offices; worship areas properly ventilated; ladle removed from chozuya, and bell removed from worship hall; visitors in poor condition are discouraged from entering; visitors required to wear masks and disinfect hands; Osaka Covid-19 Tracing System in use

  • Hochigai Shrine
    方違神社
    • Address 2-2-1 Kitamikunigaoka-cho, Sakai-ku, Sakai City, Osaka 590-0021
    • Nearest Station 5-minute walk from Nankai Sakaihigashi Station (Northeast Exit)
    • Phone Number 072-232-1216
    • Hours: 9:00AM-4:00PM
      Admission: Free
      Regular holiday: Open daily

10. Otori Taisha: An Old Sakai Shrine Dedicated to Yamato Takeru Nomikoto

10. Otori Taisha: An Old Sakai Shrine Dedicated to Yamato Takeru Nomikoto
In preparation for the 2022 New Year's celebrations, the copper plates of the Otori-zukuri main shrine, shrine gate, and worship hall will be replaced

Legend says that the spirit of Yamato Takeru Nomikoto flew into the area as a swan, and spent the night in Otori Taisha. When he did, all kinds of trees grew overnight. Because of this, the 1500-tsubo (approx. 4,959 m2) shrine precincts are also called "Chigusa no Mori" (thousand trees forest).

This particular Otori Shrine is the main shrine of all the Otori shrines in Japan. People come here to pray for success, good luck, warding off evil, and traffic safety. About 350,000 visitors come every year during the first three days of January.

There is also a giant camphor tree with raised roots, a sacred tree said to be auspicious for prosperous business. Come say a prayer to deity Yamato Takeru Nomikoto, and find the power to succeed in 2021!!

These omikuji fortunes (300 yen) are named after Yamato Takeru. Visitors have a 1/1000 chance of drawing a golden fortune!

Hatsumode 2021 will be held according to regular schedule

The 2021 Hatsumode festivities will be held according to their regular schedule, with measures against coronavirus in full effect. The priests, shrine maidens, and ministers have their temperatures checked every morning and wear masks. The use of ladles at the chozuya have been discontinued, and disinfectant is supplied at each shrine and omikuji kiosks.

New Year's Holiday Hours:
6:00AM-6:00PM (regular hours)

Measures Against Covid-19:
All staff required to wear masks, wash hands, and disinfect with alcohol; acrylic plates and vinyl sheets partitions installed at offices; alcohol disinfectant available at offices; worship areas properly ventilated; ladle removed from chozuya, and bell removed from worship hall; visitors in poor condition are discouraged from entering; visitors required to wear masks and disinfect hands; Osaka Covid-19 Tracing System in use

  • Otori Taisha
    大鳥大社
    • Address 1-1-2 Otorikita-machi, Nishi-ku, Sakai City, Osaka 593-8328
    • Nearest Station 3-minute walk from JR Otori Station (West Exit)
    • Phone Number 072-262-0040
    • Hours: 6:00AM-6:00PM
      Admission: Free
      Regular holiday: Open daily

The temples and shrines introduced here today enshrine deities dedicated to all kinds of blessings, from prosperous business as seen in the merchant town of Osaka, to warding off the coronavirus. Wherever you go, don't forget to thank God or Buddha (or whoever you believe in!), and have a safe Hatsumode, and a very happy, healthy New Year!

When visiting shrines, please be sure to take proper measures against coronavirus, and avoid crowds when possible.

*Please note that schedule changes and event postponement/cancellations may apply. Be sure to check the latest updates on the official websites before going out.

Text by: Efeel

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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