New Years festivities at a shrine near our apartment.
Entrance from the main street.
People lining up to pray.
New Year charms for sale.
The trees on the bottom left are covered with "bad fortunes."
When you visit a shrine before or shortly after New Years you are supposed to buy a fortune (100-200 Yen)
If the fortune is bad, you leave it at the shrine - if it's good, you can take it home with you!
(We had to bring back our bad fortune after we got it translated and of course I had to pick the shrine that was far from our house. You are supposed to bring the fortune back to the shrine you got it from, ha!)
Staying warm by the fire.
After New Years, all old decorations and fortunes get burned (normally two weeks after.)
I think this is where people can drop off their decorations to be burned in a communal fire at the shrine.