Considering the often wonderfully relaxed approach to religion in Japan, it’s still sometimes surprising to see a relatively steady stream of worshippers at many of Tokyo’s temples and shrines. But whether a lot of these trips are of a spiritual or more superstitious nature, is really hard to say. It could also be down to simple custom too. Yet whatever the actual reason, the seemingly quite ambiguous nature of many visits is really quite fascinating.
And at New Year, when the trickle of visitors very quickly becomes a torrent, such contrasting intentions become clear — yet at the same time, utterly unclear.
There’s reverence, and irreverence.
Plus seriousness, and simply pleasure.
All in the same frame. Often in the same family. Carried out all over the country.