Long holiday scatters well wishers

The number of people who visited shrines and temples during the first three days of 1997 was nearly 1 million less than last year, the National Police Agency reported Jan. 6.According to the agency, 86.72 million people visited shrines and temples during the traditional period for yearend thanksgiving and new year well-wishing, 940,000 less than last year. NPA officials said they believe most Japanese ended their New Year’s holidays on Jan. 5, spreading visits to religious sites over the year’s first five days. Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine had the most visitors, 3.41 million, followed by Kawasaki Daishi Temple in Kawasaki and Naritasan Shinshoji Temple in Chiba, both with 3.02 million. Osaka’s Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine had 2.89 million visitors, and Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine had 2.5 million.Another 4.26 million people visited other attractions around the country, about 240,000 less than last year. The most popular leisure attraction was Tokyo Disneyland in Chiba Prefecture with 220,000 visitors. Shiga Kogen Ski Resorts in Nagano Prefecture and the Okayama Castle and its vicinity had 160,000 visitors each, the agency said.The NPA also reported that 21,987 people climbed mountains during the yearend and New Year’s period, about 1,300 more than the previous year. One person was killed and four others were injured in eight mountain accidents, it said.