One of the most traditional annual event
In Japan, Hatsumode (初詣) is one of the most important traditional annual events. It means, "The first (Hatsu) shrine visit (mode)", so hatsumode is to visit a shrine (or temple) to pray for good luck for the New Year. Between January 1st and 3rd People usually visit a shrine with their family which is called "san ga nichi" (literally "three days"). Instead, some people visit a Buddhist temple.
To do hatsumode after that period is also ok. To avoid the crowds, some people prefer to visit the shrines and temples later on, since hatsumode is such a popular tradition. In Japan, many of the people are off work from December 29 until January 3 of every year. The house is cleaned, debts are paid, friends and family are visited and gifts are exchanged during this time. To spend the early morning of New Year's Day in domestic worship, followed by sake often containing edible gold flakes and special celebration food would be customary. It is one of the rare occasions during which men customarily wear a full kimono.
Across Japan, There are many temples and shrines, and almost every single one practices Hatsumode. Festively the most popular shrines will be decorated. In Japan, various charms bless their owners with different wishes, but most of the charms sold on the New Year are engraved with prayers for a fortunate year to come, and these charms are called omamori. Visitors traditionally will bring their omamori from the previous year as well, and discard of them in a bucket or box at the shrine or temple. Visitors make wishes and prayers for the year and buy omamori (good luck charms), during Hatsumode. Visitors can buy a written oracle besides, called an omikuji in Japanese.
Around midnight on New Year's Eve, the most eventful part of the Hatsumode takes place. Many people gather around at each temple during this event to witness the official act denoting that the New Year has arrived, Like the New York Ball Drop in Times Square. Around midnight on New Year's Eve Most atmospheric is a visit to a temple, when the temple's bell is rung repeatedly. Ring the bell (it's a way to greet the deity) after throwing a coin (usually 5 yen - 100 yen) into a box. Then, bow, clap your hands twice, and finally close your eyes to pray. One last time you bow after finishing the praying.