Celebrate the beginning of 2024 in Japan by participating in the tradition of hatsumōde — the first visit to a shrine or temple of the year — at one of the most-visited temples near Tokyo.
Note: This is not the Ryūsenji Temple in Meguro.
Usually, over 500,000 people attend the seven-day festival at Ryusenji Temple in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture. The majority visit on New Year’s Day. Ryusenji is one of only three great temples in Japan that both ward off misfortune and bring good luck — making it a very popular destination for New Year wishes.
You’ll be shoulder to shoulder with throngs of visitors, watching the priests burn offerings to bring good luck. You can pray from within the crowd or you can reserve and pay a ¥3,000 fee to join a prayer service inside the temple.
The festival includes the oldest daruma doll market in the prefecture, food, games, and other pop-up stalls scattered around.
How to get to Ryusenji Temple
Ryusenji Temple is in Saitama, so getting there can take some time.
If you’re coming from Tokyo, the closest station is Aketo on the Chichibu Main Line. You can reach it by taking the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line to Kumagaya Station and then changing. This will leave you with a 14-minute walk to the temple. The whole journey takes 1 hour and 45 minutes from Ikebukuro Station.
Alternatively, visitors can take the JR Shonan-Shinjuku line from Shinjuku Station to Kagohara Station (1 hour 15 minutes). Here, for the first three days of the event, there will be a free shuttle bus service taking visitors to the temple and back. You can find the schedule here. (Link in Japanese).
If you can drive, the shrine offers 500 extra free parking spaces throughout the festival.