By Diane Ako
NUUANU (KHNL) - Looking for something different to do this New Year's Eve? How about trying a Japanese tradition. A Nuuanu Shinto temple holds one of the largest celebrations of its kind on the island.
The gates outside the Daijingyu Temple of Hawaii are quiet now, but come New Year's Eve, there will be a line half a mile long of people waiting to for a Shinto blessing. Reverend Akihiro Okada says, "In Hawaii it has over 100 years of history."
You pull this rope to ring the bell, then get a blessing from the Reverend. Okada explains what makes this event so popular. "It's Japanese heritage from our Japanese ancestors. They used to come to the shrine at New Year's. It started over 100 years ago."
For a quarter you can buy a fortune. If you don't like it you can tie it to the tree outside, and buy a new one. "Sweep out evil spirits and bring happiness at New Year's," smiles Okada.
You can also buy charms blessed for good luck. This one's for personal safety. These are for good luck at your business, or for staying safe in the water. There's charms for children and pregnancy and even one for finding love! The charms range from three to 15 dollars.
Each year more than a thousand people visit the temple looking for a little extra luck to start their new year. The lines form at around 10:30 pm on the 31st. The bulk of the traffic arrives between midnight at 3:30 am. The temple is open until 3:30 in the afternoon on January first. Parking is extremely limited so you might want to consider carpooling, or catching a taxi.
The money from the charm sales goes towards operating expenses for the temple, which raises 90% of its funds on this day.
Dai Jingyu Temple of Hawaii
61 Puiwa Road