Reuters ISSEI KATO
The Japanese flocked to the shrines to welcome the new year, without giving any importance to the spread of the Corona virus and the government measures imposed to limit the spread of the virus.
The Japanese newspaper “Japan Today” reported To that, “Usually shrines throughout the country are preparing to receive millions of citizens who celebrate the New Year annually, but amid the spread of the Corona epidemic, expectations have increased to prevent celebrations this time, but all expectations were opposite.”
The administration of the “Kanda Myujin” shrine, the main shrine in Tokyo, announced its restrictions and preventive measures via its website, days ago, stressing the administration’s focus on following government protocols and reducing situations that may lead to crowding.
“It hurts that you have to put in place restrictions, because we usually want to invite as many people as possible,” said Chief Priest Mizuki Takashima.
The mausoleum, which dates back to the eighth century and includes a main wing built in 1923, is a popular attraction for foreign tourists, however, the number of visitors to Japan has dwindled to almost zero since the country closed its borders to tourists to stop the spread of the virus.
At the beginning of each year, Japanese people from all over the country visit the “New Year’s” shrine called “Hatsumud”, where Japanese view the visits as a tradition in which families and friends gather in large numbers to pay their respects and prayers in the early days of January.
While many of the shrines decided to open their doors to visitors, others decided to keep their doors closed this year, to avoid the crowding that began to appear several days ago.
Source: “Japan Today” + “Sunrise”