EDITORS’ NOTES

The end of 2018 is almost here, and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are fast approaching. Are you all ready to greet the new year?

This time we share the history of hatsumode, an essential part of the New Year’s celebration, and present a guide sure to please those who want to know where they can enjoy a meal while they are going for hatsumode.





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Hatsumode on New Year’s Day is actually a recent custom

Do you know the origins of “hatsumode”?

Most people are aware of the practice of hatsumode, in which people visit a shrine or temple to offer thanks for making it to the new year safe and sound, as well as to pray for good health in the coming year. These days most people also consider going for hatsumode to be a matter of course, and since shrines have been around since ancient times, many believe that the custom goes back to when those shrines and temples were built. In reality, it is a recent custom.

"Hatsumode was first introduced to saijiki (glossaries of seasonal terms for poets) as a seasonal word in haiku during the late Meiji period, and haiku containing the word “hatsumode” only began appearing in the Taisho period."

Source:wikipdia

While the practice of visiting shrines or temples itself existed, “hatsumode” became established in the Meiji period.

Before hatsumode came about, it was customary to make a visit to pay your respects for the new year at the shrine to the local patron deity, called the “ujigama-sama,” or at your family temple where your ancestors are laid to rest, but in recent years, some people are now traveling a fairly long distance for hatsumode. While the reasons vary, such as wanting to receive blessings or improve one’s fortunes, the following factors contributed to people making long distance trips especially for hatsumode.

"Hatsumode as a term which did not discriminate between New Year’s day visits to various visits to shrines or temple in the year’s favorable direction, known as “ehomairi,” or festival days such as Hatsu-Tenjin, Hatsuuma, and Hatsumi, etc., first appeared in a 1885 article in “Yorozucho” in reference to a New Year’s Day hatsumode visit to Kawasaki Daishi (Heiken-ji)."

"While this theory on the establishment of hatsumode is persuasive, there is another major factor in the reasons why hatsumode took root in postwar society leading up to the present."

"Perhaps the so-called “traffic war” that started in the late 1950s, a time in which traffic accident fatalities rose significantly, was the reason for “postwar-style hatsumode” taking root."

Source

The originator of hatsumode was Kawasaki Daishi. Hatsumode seems to be rather like Valentine’s Day and other such events started up by businesses.

Some of you may be wondering whether you should go to a shrine or a temple, but since there are no rules, it is OK to go wherever you like.








Japan’s Top 10 Popular Hatsumode Spots

No.1 Heian Jingu(Kyoto)

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No.2 Sumiyoshi Taisha(Osaka)

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No.3 Fushimi-Inari Taisha(Kyoto)

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No.4 Meiji Jingu(Tokyo)

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No.5 Naritasan Fudouson(Osaka)

"Mr. Fudō of Narita," as he is affectionately named, is known for road safety blessings.

No.6 Imamiyaebisu Shrine(Osaka)

This shrine is popular for the guardian deity of thriving business, wealth, and happiness.

No.7 Meguro Fudouson Ryusen-ji(Tokyo)

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No.8 Kanda Shrine(Tokyo)

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No.9 Ookunitama Shrine(Tokyo)

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No.10 Shimogamo-jinja (Kyoto)

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~A guide to restaurants listed on Pocket Concierge open for New Year’s Day~

Ginza Koju(Tokyo・Ginza/Japanese)

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Ginza Koju is a 2-star Japanese restaurant created by Chef Okuda, one of Japan’s most prominent restaurateurs. This famous restaurant is a perennial favorite of many gourmets who wish to savor the traditional Japanese spirit of “wa” by experiencing the changing seasons with all five senses. The cuisine emphasizes the sense of the seasons imparted by the ingredients, focusing on the best season for ingredients, the first harvest of the season, and the eventual passing of the seasons, beautifully accenting the various elegant dishes by Chef Okuda. If you want to go for hatsumode in the Ginza area, it is an 11-minute walk from Ginza Koju toward Shimbashi to get to Karasumori shrine, or a 14-minute walk toward Tsukiji to get to Namiyoke Inari Shrine, known for its paper talismans based on Chinese astrology.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Karasumori shrine,Namiyoke Inari Shrine





Yoshifuku(Tokyo・Higashi-Ginza/Japanese)

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For nine years, the Japanese restaurant Yoshifuku held onto its single star in Higashi Kitazawa. In their 10th year, they made a new start in Ginza in April 2018, and the restaurant will celebrate its first New Year in Ginza in 2019. Their Japanese cuisine is tied together with flavorful dashi broth, offering a host of dishes all perfect for greeting the new year. It is located on the 10th floor of a brand new building, so you can greet the new year in comfort while you enjoy the secluded atmosphere. If you walk about 10 minutes from Yoshifuku toward Tsukiji, you will arrive at Tsukiji Hongwanji. This is a temple, not a shrine, but they also do hatsumode, of course. It is reputedly a well-kept secret in the heart of Tokyo, so enjoy the relaxed and mature atmosphere!

New Year Reservations Open:1/2~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Tsukiji Hongwanji





Nishiazabu Kikuchi(Tokyo・Nishi-Azabu/Japanese)

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The Japanese restaurant Nishiazabu Kikuchi has received 2 stars in an internationally famous gourmet guide. The contents of the owner’s choice course are not fixed, but instead feature different dishes for each customer. This restaurant is recommended for those who wish to start the new year by forgetting the hustle and bustle of the city and taking it easy. If you walk 10 minutes from Nishiazabu Kikuchi, you will come to the Tokyo branch of Shimane Prefecture’s Izumo Taisha Shrine. You will spot it if you head from the restaurant in the direction of the Nishi-Azabu crossing, and walk toward Roppongi Hills. This shrine is also popular among women.

New Year Reservations Open:1/2~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Izumotaisha Tokyobunshi





Molecu-L.(Tokyo・Ueno Hirokoji/Japanese)

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Located away from the noise and crowds of Ueno, Tokyo, Molecu-L. is a restaurant where you can enjoy foods restructured with molecular gastronomy techniques. The seasonal chef’s choice course features nine dishes made with seasonal ingredients, and is served with a flamboyant cooking performance. Dishes interweaving elements of the Japanese scenery such as traditional rock gardens are combined with a projection mapping display projected behind the counter, creating a beautifully artistic dining experience which stimulates one’s aesthetic sensibilities. If you walk 9 minutes from Molecu-L., you will come to a shrine famous for the patron deity of academics, [[[Yushima Tenmangū(Yushima Tenjin)。]]] After making your visit, experience an extraordinary space.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Yushima Tenmangū(Yushima Tenjin)





Musashino(Tokyo・Omotesando/Japanese)

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Conveniently located a 4-minute walk from Omotesando Station, Musashino is a Japanese restaurant based on the concept of “enjoying flavorful seasonal ingredients at a relaxed pace,” where you can savor seasonal dishes created with bold ingredients such as wild game, eel, and black truffles in unpretentious surroundings. The black truffle soba is a popular menu item. They use buckwheat flour grown by buckwheat farmers in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, and it is notable for noodles which do not get overpowered by the potent aroma of the black truffles. It is a 12-minute walk from Musashino to the nearest shrine, Meiji Jingu. They are open for both lunch and dinner, and they allow in children from babies on up, so it is the perfect spot for a family meal.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Meiji Jingu





Restaurant Toyo Tokyo(Tokyo・Hibiya/French)

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Restaurant Toyo Tokyo is a French restaurant located on the third floor of Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, opened in March 2018, and it is the first Japanese location of Restaurant Toyo Tokyo, which is has garnered attention as a famous restaurant where it is difficult to book a table in Paris. They incorporate Japanese seasonal ingredients, and base their ideas for dishes around these ingredients, presenting subtle flavors and a spirit of hospitality that are characteristically Japanese through their food. After your meal, perhaps you can enjoy shopping at Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, and then make the 12-minute walk to Karasumori shrine for hatsumode.

New Year Reservations Open:1/2~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Karasumori shrine





Restaurant TANI(Tokyo・Gaienmae/French)

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Located on Gaien-nishi Dori in Minamiaoyama, Restaurant TANI is a French restaurant which emphasizes French rustic cuisine and traditional cooking methods, making the most of the natural flavors of the seasonal ingredients. Meiji Jingu is a famous shrine near Restaurant TANI with the highest number of hatsumode visitors in the country every year, and it is located about 8 minutes from the restaurant by taxi. The combination of hatsumode with a meal at a French restaurant will let you start off the new year with a worthwhile experience.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Meiji Jingu





Restaurant Lyla(Tokyo・Akasaka/French)

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Restaurant Lyla is a French restaurant which serves aesthetically rich and exquisite special prix-fixe meals you will want to experience with someone special. They serve unique prix-fixe meals that only exist at that particular time, on that particular day, at that particular table, so when they are open from New Year’s Day, there are many first timers who want to make a visit in addition to the regulars. If you take a 10-minute walk from Restaurant Lyla you can get to Akasaka Hikawa Shrine, which exudes a solemn and dignified air despite being in the middle of the city. It is one of the Tokyo Jissha shrines and also home to the Yotsuya Inari Shrine, so you can enjoy the spacious grounds at your leisure while you are there for hatsumode.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~1/6

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Akasaka Hikawa Shrine





Restaurant Ryuzu(Tokyo・Roppongi/French)

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Restaurant Ryuzu is a French restaurant highly regarded for a menu that brings out the best in its seasonal ingredients. It has received 2 stars from an internationally famous gourmet guide, and with their proven skills, they will make your special meal an enjoyable one. If you walk from Restaurant Ryuzu toward Midtown, after about 7 minutes you will arrive at Tenso Jinja RyudoShinmeigu, the shrine of the local deity of Roppongi. It is dedicated to Amaterasu Oomikami(Sun Goddess), and the Minato Shichifukujin Meguri is held from January 1st to Coming of Age Day. After a Shichifukujin pilgrimage, you will want to enjoy a delicious meal to savor the happy occasion.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Tenso Jinja RyudoShinmeigu





LE SEVERO(Tokyo・Nishiazabu/Bistro)

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LE SEVERO is a bistro specializing in dry-aged beef that is based on the concept of “delicious steaks in a casual setting,” serving meat dry-aged on the bone to enhance the flavor at reasonable prices, and it is praised for being palatable for women as well as men. It has been the focus of attention since its opening, and is frequented by gourmets. You can get to Zojoji near Tokyo Tower in about 10 minutes by taxi from the restaurant. Many visitors come for hatsumode every year, but the grounds are spacious, so you can make your visit without being rushed. After your somber hatsumode visit, you can greet the new year with dry-aged beef to satisfy your stomach as well as your soul.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Zojoji





Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros(Tokyo・Shinjuku/French)

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Troisgro is a famous restaurant in France which has gotten 3 stars for half a century. Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros is the only restaurant outside of France produced by chef Michel Trowasgros, the restaurant’s third head chef. The food is typified by incorporating Japanese ingredients into French cuisine, with an emphasis on seasonal character, and during the New Year period, you can enjoy the Happy Holiday Celebration Course. For a hatsumode spot near Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros, if you walk about 5 minutes from the restaurant toward Nishishinjuku 5-chome, you will come upon Shinjuku junisha Kumano Shrine, which became notable when it was visited by Nadeshiko Japan (women's football team) before they won the World Cup.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Shinjuku junisha Kumano Shrine





le vin quatre(Toyko・Mejiro/French)

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Located opposite Gakushuin University in Mejiro, Tokyo, le vin quatre is a French restaurant with many fans among gourmets, where you can enjoy the cuisine of Chef Kitano. You can experience playful and imaginative dishes based on traditional French cuisine at reasonable prices, and they serve special New Year’s prix-fixe meals at lunch and dinner from January 2nd to 6th. For a hatsumode spot near le vin quatre, Kishimojindou is located a 7-minute walk from the restaurant. It has been designated a national important cultural property, and it is also famous as a shrine which offers blessings for safe childbirth and healthy children.

New Year Reservations Open:1/2~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Kishimojindou





Les Alchimistes(Tokyo・Shirokane Takanawa/French)

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The 1-star French restaurant Les Alchimistes, which is French for “the alchemists,” was renovated last year, becoming an even more gorgeous space. Chef Yamamoto spent 8 years polishing his skills at a number of restaurants in France, and his cuisine combines seasonal ingredients in an aesthetically rich fashion to stimulate the senses of taste, sight, and smell as well as the imagination. For a hatsumode spot near Les Alchimistes, Shirogane Hikawa Shrine is said to the oldest shrine in Minato Ward, and it is located just a 1-minute walk from the restaurant.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Shirogane Hikawa Shrine





Restaurant Ľallium(Tokyo・Shirogane-dai/French)

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Opened in August 2018 on the former Shirokanedai site of the established French restaurant OZAWA, Restaurant L'allium is a French restaurant managed by chef Shindo, who served at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and other establishments before earning a star as the chef at Gentil H. Based on the concept of a "modern grande Maison", they present a restaurant space with the unhurried orderliness of Grande Maison where you can relax without feeling overly self-conscious. Kakurinji is a hatsumode spot located about a 12-minute walk from Restaurant L'allium. This temple has attracted many worshipers who pray here for success.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Kakurinji





Sens & Saveurs(Tokyo・Marunouchi/French)

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“Le Jardin des Sens” (Montpellier in southern France) captured the attention of gourmets worldwide when it became the quickest restaurant to earn 3 stars at the time in 1998. Sens & Saveurs was created by twin chefs Jacques Pourcel and Laurent Pourcel., opening it as their first overseas restaurant. The cuisine makes enthusiastic use of fruit, taking advantage of the acidity, sweetness, and fragrances to create light and subtle flavors. The location on the 35th floor of the Marunouchi Building is also appealing. The closest hatsumode spot is Koami Shrine, located an 11-minute taxi ride from Sens & Saveurs. It is famous as a shrine offering good luck and protection from misfortune.

New Year Reservations Open:1/2~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Koami Shrine





unico-co (Tokyo・Yotsuya/Italian)

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unico-co is an Italian restaurant where you can enjoy prix-fixe meals which let you enjoy new ways of serving sea urchin and difference in flavors from different regions. They source more than 200 varieties of sea urchins over the year, so you can enjoy a variety of types of sea urchin in different seasons. The perfect place to go for hatsumode in the area around unico-co is Suga Shrine, about a 10-minute walk from the restaurant. This shrine is famous for blessings for good fortune, success in business, good matches in marriage, and protection from misfortune.
*Due to issues involved with sourcing sea urchin, please contact the restaurant by December 24th to cancel or change reservations. For any cancellations or changes after that, they bill 100% of the cost of the prix-fixe meal as a cancellation fee.

New Year Reservations Open:1/2~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Suga Shrine





Kouraku Sushi Yasumitsu(Tokyo・Yotsuya/sushi)

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Kouraku Sushi Yasumitsu is a family-run sushi restaurant brimming with warm hospitality. The chef’s choice course offers an abundant selection of 20-23 items, including sushi and side dishes, and you can also enjoy a special prix-fixe meal for the New Year period from December 31st to January 3rd. It is about a 7-minute walk from Kouraku Sushi Yasumitsu to the nearest shrine, Suga Shrine. There are few sushi restaurants open on New Year’s Day, and seating is limited, so making reservations early is recommended.
*Due to issues involved with sourcing fish, please contact the restaurant by December 24th to cancel or change reservations. For any cancellations or changes after that, they bill 100% of the cost of the prix-fixe meal as a cancellation fee.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~1/3

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Suga Shrine





Sushi Harumi(Tokyo・Ginza/sushi)

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[[[『すし晴海』]]] is a sushi restaurant produced by Toru Okuda of the 2-star Japanese restaurant Ginza Koju. They serve a limited time Omakase cource for lunch and dinner from January 1st to 4th, so you can enjoy delicious sushi at a reasonable price even in the Ginza area. The closest hatsumode spot is Karasumori Shrine, located a 9-minute walk from the restaurant. You can also receive a special scarlet stamp only available on New Year’s Day.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Karasumori Shrine





Hermitage de Tamura(Nagano・Karuizawa/French)

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Hermitage de Tamura is a French restaurant opened in 2000 that is located in a detached house long famous in Karuizawa. They gather the most delicious ingredients at the time from local farms and all across Japan, so you can enjoy highly original dishes. For a hatsumode spot near Hermitage de Tamura, Karuizawa Suwa Shrine is located about a 12-minute drive from the restaurant. After you enjoy a meal surrounded by Karuizawa’s natural beauty, head to the shrine to receive a blessing.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Karuizawa Suwa Shrine





Restaurant Meli-Melo(Nagano・Karuizawa/French)

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Restaurant Meli-Melo is a French restaurant with a history in Karuizawa going back more than 20 years. The cuisine by Chef Shinohara focuses on ingredients from Nagano Prefecture, and uses local produce from Karuizawa when it is in season. They are very particular about terroir, making plentiful use of rare ingredients grown by local farms like "Karuizawa Salad Farm", which produces about 30-40 varieties of produce in a year, including those that are not usually in circulation or unavailable unless you go to the mountains. For hatsumode, you can go to Karuizawa Suwa Shrine, which is about a 17-minute drive from Restaurant Meli-Melo.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Karuizawa Suwa Shrine





Jikishinbou Saiki(Kyoto・Gion/Japanese)

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Originally founded as the catering service Saikiya in 1934, it is currently in its third generation as Jikishinbou Saiki, and it has preserved the history and flavors of the founding generation. The third-generation chef is very particular about dashi broth, so in pursuit of the best flavor, he entered Kyoto University’s department of agriculture and completed a master’s course in graduate school there. Their cuisine lets you savor this passion and will dazzle the palate at the start of the new year. You can get to Yasaka Shrine in about 3 minutes on foot, so you can sense the blessings of the gods close by while you enjoy your meal. Every year on January 3rd, the "Karuta Hazime Shiki" is held at Yasaka Shrine, which livens up the New Year mood even more.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Yasaka Shrine





Teruzushi(Fukuoka・Kitakyushu Tobata/sushi)

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Teruzushi captivates gourmets from around the world with ingredients that possess their own stories and presentation that stimulates all five senses of diners. This space is dubbed a sushi theater, and it feels just as though you have come to a show venue. Incidentally, Teruzushi will be open during the New Year period for the first time this year. There is also an exclusive Pocket Concierge prix-fixe meal (for lunch and dinner) from December 30th to January 5th, so be sure to take this opportunity to experience it for yourself. From Teruzushi, it is a 30-minute bus ride to Kokura Gion Yasaka Shrine. Familiar to locals as “Kokura no Gion-san,” it celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2017, and receives many visitors for hatsumode every year. While you are stretching your legs and experiencing the local energy, you will also want to marvel at the performance at Teruzushi.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Kokura Gion Yasaka Shrine





Isshinzushi Koyo(Miyazaki・Miyazaki-shi Syouwatyou/sushi)

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Isshinzushi Koyo presents a unique charm with its pairings of “Miyazaki-mae” sushi, made with seasonal seafood caught in Miyazaki, with wine and sake. The vinegared rice uses vinegar with no added sugar, and they use a dashi broth made with black pumpkin, a traditional Miyazaki vegetable. The traditional flavors passed down from the founders and their highly refined sushi let you experience a taste of the ultimate in extravagance. If you take the train from Miyazaki Station where Isshinzushi Koyo is located and get off at the next stop at Miyazaki-Shingu Station, Miyazaki Jinguu is located nearby. The shrine is dedicated to Emperor Jimmu, Japan’s first emperor, and it welcomes more than 60,000 visitors per year, receiving many hatsumode visitors from within Miyazaki and beyond.

New Year Reservations Open:1/1~1/3

Nearest Hatsumōde Spot:Miyazaki Jinguu

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