Dec 31
~
Jan 1 2021

Okera Mairi: Old Year’s Eve at Yasaka-jinja Shrine

7:00pm – 5:00am
Free

Want to ensure peace and prosperity for 2020? Head to Kyoto’s Yasaka Shrine on the 31st of December for the Okera Mairi ceremony, which is supposed to ensure just that.

Okera roots are burned in bonfires, and their flames are used to light two toro lanterns placed in Yasaka-jinja’s precincts. People crowd around to light lengths of bamboo robe, and walk home swinging them to keep the flame burning. At home, this sacred flame is used to light a candle on the household altar, or to light a fire over which zoni soup is prepared. Zoni contains chicken, vegetables and mochi, and is believed to be one of the most auspicious soups to eat on New Year’s Day. From 9pm, the Imamiya Shrine priests will visit the shrine.

If you arrive a little earlier – the oharae-shiki ceremony for the purification of sins starts at 3pm.

Events begin at 7pm on December 31st and wrap up at about 5am on January 1st, when the Whote Birch ceremony begins. The Yasaka Shrine is 10 minutes walk up Shijo Dori from Gion-Shijo Station.

Get the best Japan Cheapo hacks direct to your inbox

Related Events
  • Sun, Oct
    25

    The Chikugogawa Fireworks Festival

    Cancelled

    Dating back to 1650, this is one of Japan’s longest running fireworks festivals. With 18,000 fireworks and 400,000 spectators, it’s also one of the largest in western Japan. The fireworks will be launched from two different locations along the Chikugo […]

    7:40pm – 9:10pm
    Free
  • Late
    Oct

    Jidai Matsuri: Kyoto's Historical Parade

    Cancelled

    Want to see a slice of Japanese history? The Jidai Matsuri—”Festival of Ages”—is one of Kyoto‘s biggest October draws. It commemorates the founding of Kyoto as the Imperial capital by the Emperor Kammu in 794, so this is definitely one […]

    7:00am – 4:00pm
    Free
  • Miyazaki Jingu Taisai
    Late
    Oct

    Miyazakijingu Festival

    Cancelled

    The Miyazakijingu Taisai (Miyazaki Shrine Grand Festival) is a traditional festival at one of Miyazaki’s major Shinto shrines with a history of more than 140 years. The festival features a “procession of the gods” on both days from 1pm until […]

    Free
  • Early
    Nov

    Utsunomiya Gyoza Festival

    Cancelled

    The city of Utsunomiya in Tochigi prefecture is renowned for its gyoza—the dumpling of Chinese origin that is a fixture of Japanese ramen restaurants. The festival takes place at Utsunomiya Park in the center of the city and stalls will […]

    10:00am – 4:00pm

Recommended hotels located nearby