It’s the second day of the New Year and our holiday was drawing to a close. There was still a bit of time to go sightseeing in Nagoya though — and we made sure we made the most of it as it was our very first time in the city (the first overnight stop did not count). We decided to visit Atsuta Shrine for hatsumode (in a new city!), and as expected the shrine was crawling with people wo were also there to do their annual religious obligations.
The thing we really noticed about hatsumode in Japan was the carnival atmosphere of the shrine. It feels even livelier and more communal than O-bon Festival or local festivals. There is so much stuff to see and do — purchase good luck charms, get your fortunes told, people-watch, or eat freshly-prepared street food from the friendly stall owners. There’s takoyaki, yakisoba, oden, karaage, and the odd stall or two selling burgers and fries. Yum yum yum ❤
If you’re a Sengoku fan, then Nagoya is a great place to visit. Nagoya Castle is a fantastic way to spend the afternoon. At just JPY 500 donation per person, you can enter the castle grounds to marvel at the existing buildings, take a peek into the restoration work that has been going on for decades, or even donate to the cause (a measly JPY 50,000 donation is enough to get your name listed on the Hall of Donors — not to shabby).