Ring in new year with good luck blessing

It’s a popular Island tradition that has centuries-old roots in Japan. On New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, thousands of people will gather at a Nu`uanu Shinto temple to receive a good luck blessing to start the new year.

Before midnight on December 31st, people line up outside the Daijingu Temple of Hawaii to receive a blessing from a Shinto priest, followed by the purchase of a good luck amulet to help them over the next 12 months, and a fortune written on paper. All are welcome at this public event. 

It’s an event this temple started shortly after its inception in 1903 (though city records show the church officially registered itself in 1920), and it attracts an estimated 4,000 people – many of whom bring their pets.

Reverend Akihiro Okada is the temple’s priest, and he administers most of the blessings, though during this overnight event, he appoints several other priests and priestesses to fill in for him, including me. The line is long, and it’s fairly continuous. The event ends at 4 p.m. on January 1.

Rev. Okada and me, 2014

After you are blessed, the line snakes around to a kiosk selling charms, or “omamori.” I help with this, as well.

There are dozens of different type of charms, though the most popular include ones to protect your home, your family, and yourself; to help you find love, and to help your children succeed in school.

My husband at the charm kiosk

For your planning purposes: There is a blessing on the 31st at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., but the bulk of the traffic arrives between midnight and 3 a.m., then ramps up again between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m.

I’m giving blessings here

If you cannot make the public event, you can also make appointments for individual New Year blessings for you and/or your family. (Suggestion donation: $100.) Call Reverend Okada at (808) 595-3102 to set up appointments. The temple is open until 4 p.m. on New Year’s Day and throughout the month of January.

This is the blessing inside the temple

This is not the same as the ten second blessing at the New Year’s event. It’s longer and more involved.

The public event is free, but donations are appreciated. This is the temple’s largest fundraiser of the year.

Park at the shrine’s parking lot or on the street; additional parking available at Boy Scouts parking lot across the shrine.

View a KITV4 (ABC) appearance on 12/24/16 about this event:

Daijingu Temple of Hawaii
61 Puiwa Road – near corner of Nu`uanu Avenue and Puiwa Road – just above Queen Emma Summer Palace and near the Nu`uanu Valley Park.

(808) 595-3102 
Facebook: Daijingu Temple of Hawaii


Author(s) on this Post

Diane Ako

Peace of mind By Diane Ako I like to reflect on life. Sometimes it’s philosophically. Sometimes it’s humorously. For all its beauty, life is far too difficult a journey to take alone. You need the support and connection with others to help carry you along the way. Writing brings me that connection– within and without. It clarifies my thoughts and feelings. It helps me reach out to others for advice, wisdom, or feedback. Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions become you. A wise yogi- Patanjali- said, “Speak what is true. Speak what is pleasant.” Let’s speak of things pleasant to one another and seek some peace of mind along the way. ABOUT Diane Ako joined Hawaii: In Real Life in October 2016. She likes being part of a community of local bloggers – people who like writing and sharing, like she does. Ako is an anchor/ reporter at Island News (KITV4 – ABC) in Honolulu. She previously anchored and reported at KHON2 (FOX) and KHNL (NBC), and at stations in California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. She freelance writes for NMG Network's magazines. In between news jobs, in 2017, she launched and ran her own p.r. company, Diane Ako PR. From 2010-2014, she headed the public relations department at Halekulani Corporation, which oversees luxury resort Halekulani and boutique hotel Waikiki Parc. She’s been blogging since 2009 – before Hawaii: IRL, she wrote for The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest daily newspaper, where her stories garnered a dozen journalism awards and an Emmy nomination. Ako has a BA in Communications from Menlo College and an MA in Political Science from University of Hawaii at Manoa. She volunteers as a board member of the Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Cultural Foundation, a Shinto shrine maiden at Daijingyu Temple, a citizen-scientist studying shrimp, and a yoga teacher at a senior center.

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2 thoughts on “Ring in new year with good luck blessing

  • December 29, 2016 at 5:34 am

    Do you think they have healing charms for chris?

    • January 2, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      Yes, they have “get well” charms. I got it for him and will bring it to you soon.


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