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Main Event of January

Hatsumode

January 1 - 3

Hatsumode refers to the first shrine visit of the year, where people pay visits to various shrines thoroughout Kyoto to pray for a good year and receive omamori (protection) talismans. One of the most popular places to go to is Yasaka Shrine, where men and women often go out wearing kimono. As this particular shrine is devoted to the god of poetry, Karuta-hajime, a traditional card game competition in which poetry is written on each card, is played by women dressed in Heian period kimonos.

Other Events in January

Hatsu-Ebisu

January 8 - 10

Ebisu, the deity of merchants is visited at Ebisu shrine by those who have businesses to pray for a prosperous New Year, receiving a good luck bamboo branch to be displayed in the workplace.

Kemari-hajime

January 4

Kemari Hajime is an ancient game resembling hacky-sack, made from a deer-skin sack, which is played at Shimogamo Shrine. Men are dressed in Heian period costume and gather in a circle to compete as spectators watch.

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