Operation Yuki: 31st December 2012 and 1st Jaunary 2013

You’re probably wondering, what am I now only doing a blog entry for 31st and 1st? What happened to the other days I was here?! Well I was mostly shooting film for those days except for Comiket but I have yet to sort through those photos and I hope to have those up and blogged about end of this month but I think there has been enough coverage about Comiket 83 for me to be able to add anything additional that is worthwhile.

So now let’s move onto the night of 31st December 2012, the last day of 2012!!!!

I decided to go to Sensoji-shrine instead of my initial plans to go to Meiji Jingu base on the advise by Tokyo bling. It was rather nostalgic to be back here since 2007, but after that year, I decided to limit my visits to Temple during 2009 unless they were necessary for what I was trying to do then. Now even though it was mentioned that going to Meiji Jingu would invite trouble with so many people going there but that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be any crowd at Sensoji either. It was still just as packed.

At first, the crowd was thin…

But soon, it was a grew into one long queue. All waiting to pray at the main temple.

That is ONE LONG LINE!!!!!

Just short of a few more minutes and it was already the new year at this point

Though unlike other countries, there isn’t really much partying when the new year happens. Just the usual congratulatory and stuff.

The police were rather efficient and well organized in their effort to control the crowds. What did you expect? You have to be when at least 15% of Tokyo are in one location only about the size of a football field.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any clear shots in the coin tossing area as I was literally tossed and shove by people trying to either get in the area or out of it.

Here is the area after it where people can buy good luck charms for the coming new year.

After you’ve done what you’ve needed, you are then ushered out of the main temple into the festival area so other prayers could have their turn praying for the new year with the added bonus of being almost crushed as well.

Many other small items were also on sale for people to buy to celebrate the arrival of the new year


Next we have the usual candies, takoyakis, and other types of matsuri stall one could find.

But it was time to leave if I was going to make it to see the first sunrise of the year. Where to? Mount Takao. Some of you may remember that I went there back in 2009 but shot mainly on film so there weren’t any shots shown then.

Unlike other nights in Tokyo during the new year, the trains would continue to run and not stop at 1am. Though the it was at a much lower capacity then would be be at day time. Expect 1 train for every 20 minutes at average instead of the usual 1 train for every 3 minutes.

Getting Takaosanguchi wasn’t the tough part

Getting onto the mountain was the hard part and for some unnatural reason, the weather was extremely cold. Even my parka rated for -5 celsius couldn’t keep the cold out and I had to seek shelter either near a warm heat source or hunker down just to keep warm. I guess it was the wind chill factor bringing it down to -8.

The actual best place to go was to go up to the elevation of 839 meter at the end of trail #1 but that would have taken me at least 3 hours plus on a good day, a warm day I might add. Seeing how cold it was, I decided to opt for the 599 meter elevation instead, trouble was, so did everyone else.

I did go around searching for a good spot but due to the low height, most of the good spots were blocked by trees. There was this clear area but everyone had camped around hoping to see a clear view as well. If I ever get the chance again, I would have skipped the temple visit and started to hike up trail #1 up at 6pm with better warm clothing of course.

But anyway, after squeezing, pushing and some shoving, I managed to get a good clear shot of the sunrise at 7am (it started at 6:37am)

After standing in the freezing cold and much showing and pushing, this is what I have to show for it. Maybe I should have stayed back in Tokyo but something just told me to keep pushing on.

It was time to leave once I had my shot but just as it was tough to get here, it was doubly hard just to get back made worse by the cold temperature. By the time I got back it was 11am and I fell straight to sleep after packing away my stuff, it was the best sleep I’ve had in a long while.

3 thoughts on “Operation Yuki: 31st December 2012 and 1st Jaunary 2013

  1. That first shot of the Tokyo Sky Tree is pretty cool. It was still under construction the last time I was in Tokyo.

    I would like to see one of these New Years temple visits one day, a lot of anime seem to have an episode devoted to it.

    • Well, I did know it was going to be one huge event but still I just had to try it once. Maybe next time I’ll just go up directly takao following trail #1 instead of going to the temples

  2. Pingback: 2013: The year of great ups early and lots of downers near the end. | dreaming Artemis

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