National

IN PICTURES: Japan says good night to 2018, good morning to 2019

Japan greeted 2019 — the year of the boar, according to the Chinese astrological calendar — Monday evening and Tuesday morning with traditional visits to both major and minor temples and not-so-traditional events, such as the massive one at the famous Shibuya Crossing, where thousands gathered to shout the countdown displayed on digital signboards.

Hours after revelers toasted the new year, early birds ascended to prime viewing spots to witness the first sunrise of 2019.

Here is a selection of scenes from the dawning of the new year in Japan.

On New Year
On New Year’s Eve, visitors make their way up the stairs to Kamakura’s famous Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, a shrine first established in 1063. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
A golden retriever gets in the spirit.
A golden retriever gets in the spirit. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Shrine monks carry collected talismans to be burned in the otakiage rite. Traditionally, good-luck charms from the previous year are destroyed around New Year's. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Shrine monks carry collected talismans to be burned in otakiage rite. Traditionally, good-luck charms from the previous year are destroyed around New Year’s. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Omamori talismans are displayed before being burned at a <em/>otakiage (bonfire). | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Omamori talismans are displayed before being burned at a otakiage (bonfire). | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Priests carry the o-mamori to be blessed and burned.
Priests carry the o-mamori to be blessed and burned. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Samurai cosplayers pose at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, one of the major shrines in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture.| RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Samurai cosplayers pose Monday afternoon at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, one of the major shrines in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Stalls selling traditional festival fare prep for the long evening at Kenchoji, a temple in Kamakura. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Stalls selling traditional festival fare prep for the long evening at Hachimangu. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Traditional and contemporary icons mingle on a stall
Traditional and contemporary icons mingle on a stall’s mask rack near Kenchoji temple in Kamakura. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
A monk of Kenchoji temple in Kamakura prepares for the <em/>joyo-no-kane rite at midnight. At many temples, a large bell is run 108 times.
A monk of Kenchoji temple in Kamakura prepares for the joyo-no-kane rite at midnight. At many temples, a large bell is run 108 times. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Some temples allow ordinary visitors, who show up early, the chance to be one of the bell-ringers.
Some temples allow ordinary visitors, who show up early, the chance to be one of the bell-ringers. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
The rite is purifying in nature, as it is believed that 108 gongs of the bell are believed to represent evil passions.
The rite is purifying in nature, as it is believed that 108 gongs of the bell are believed to represent evil passions. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Thousands of revelers fill the Shibuya
Thousands of revelers fill the Shibuya ‘scramble’ crossing and shout the countdown to a new year. | KYODO
Crowds line up for <em/>hatsumode (first temple visit of the year) at Naritasan Shinshoji, a temple founded in 940.
Crowds line up for hatsumode (first temple visit of the year) at Naritasan Shinshoji, a temple founded in 940. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
The Great Peace Pagoda (Heiwa no Daito) looms over the grounds of Naritasan Shinshoji.
The Great Peace Pagoda (Heiwa no Daito) looms over the grounds of Naritasan Shinshoji. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Temple maidens sell talismans (<em/>omamori) at Naritasan Shinshoji temple in Narita.
Temple maidens sell talismans (omamori) at Naritasan Shinshoji temple in Narita. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Visitors to Naritasan Shinshoji display a new purchased <em/>kumade, ornamental rakes believed to bring prosperity in the new year.
Visitors to Naritasan Shinshoji display a new purchased kumade, ornamental rakes believed to bring prosperity in the new year. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
A stall near Naritasan Shinshoji sells daruma. The dolls and modeled after Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk famous for focus and dedication.
A stall near Naritasan Shinshoji sells daruma. The dolls and modeled after Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk famous for focus and dedication. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Thousands crowd the grounds of Naritasan Shinsoji on New Year
Thousands crowd the grounds of Naritasan Shinsoji on New Year’s Eve. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Stalls selling traditional festival fare are open until the early morning.
Stalls selling traditional festival fare are open until the early morning. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Monks ring the large temple bell at Naritasan Shinsoji.
Monks ring the large temple bell at Naritasan Shinsoji. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Customarily before praying, temple visitors throw money into large offering collection boxes.
Customarily before praying, temple visitors throw money into large offering collection boxes. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Crowds at Nartiasan Shinshoji
Crowds at Nartiasan Shinshoji | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Nartiasan Shinshoji
Nartiasan Shinshoji | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Visitors to Ikegami Honmonji burn incense before entering the temple to pray for good luck in the new year.
Visitors to Ikegami Honmonji burn incense before entering the temple to pray for good luck in the new year. | MARK THOMPSON
People line up to enter Ikegami Honmonji, one of Tokyo
People line up to enter Ikegami Honmonji, one of Tokyo’s largest temples. | MARK THOMPSON
Monks sell omamori, talismans believe to protect their owners over the next year.
Monks sell omamori, talismans believe to protect their owners over the next year. | MARK THOMPSON
Sunrise at Naritasan Shinshoji
Sunrise at Naritasan Shinshoji | YOSHIAKI MIURA
People witness the first sunrise of the new year from Naritasan Shinshoji on Tuesday morning.
People witness the first sunrise of the new year from Naritasan Shinshoji on Tuesday morning. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Early-morning visitors to Naritasan Shinshoji.
Early-morning visitors to Naritasan Shinshoji | YOSHIAKI MIURA