People across Japan visit shrines on New Year’s Day

All over Japan, people paid homage to shrines and temples to usher in the New Year.

The Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture, central Japan, has been crowded since Saturday morning.

Visitors dressed warmly with the addition of face masks as they made their way to the worship hall under a cloudy winter sky. They threw coins into an offering box and made wishes for 2022.

A 61-year-old woman said she came to the shrine with her husband from Saga Prefecture. She said 2021 had been a difficult year due to the pandemic, and that she had not been able to meet any friends and had to worry about social distancing.

She added that she would be delighted if her whole family could be happy and healthy this year.

In Futaba town in Fukushima prefecture, where the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is located, many evacuees visited a shrine to pray for the recovery of their hometown.

All the inhabitants of the city are still in a state of evacuation since the nuclear accident at the plant in March 2011. The local authorities want the evacuation order to be lifted by June for the areas around the station. Futaba.

The Shohatsu Shrine, which is close to the station, was damaged by the earthquake, but was restored in 2020.

The faithful prayed for health and bought amulets and good luck charms.

A man in his 50s said he came to the shrine after seeing the first sunrise of the year in Futaba. He said he wanted to get home as soon as possible.

He said he felt lonely because he saw fewer residents than before the disaster. He expressed the hope that life in the city will be restored and that everyone can regain their peace of mind.