A record 88.1 million people visited major shrines and temples during the first three days of the new year, while 5.3 million spent the holiday season at major leisure spots, the National Police Agency said Wednesday. According to the agency, Meiji Jingu Shrine in Tokyo attracted the largest number of new year visitors with 3.32 million, followed by Naritasan Shinshoji Temple in Chiba Prefecture with 2.97 million and Kawasaki Daishi Shrine in Kanagawa Prefecture with 2.95 million. All top five sanctums, however, saw a decline in visitors from last year, with Meiji Jingu Shrine seeing 80,000 fewer people. The agency attributes the decline to an increase in visitors to lesser-known shrines and temples. Tokyo Disneyland in Chiba Prefecture defended its position as the top attraction for holidaymakers, seeing 240,000 visitors over the first three days of 2000, an increase of 60,000 over last year. Meanwhile, 150,000 people, also 60,000 more than last year, gathered at Inubosaki cape in Chiba on New Year’s Eve to see the first sunrise of the year, making it the second-most visited spot. It placed fifth last year. From Dec. 29 to Jan. 3, 21,544 climbers challenged major mountains — a decrease of 2,632 from last year. Eleven people were involved in climbing accidents, including four who were killed.
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