The Koyasan Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo will open to accept New Year’s visiting (Hatsu Mode) from January 1 to 3, from 10 am to 5 pm. The services and rituals are open to the public. No admission required.
In Japan, some Esoteric Buddhism temples and Shinto shrines draw a few millions visitors for the New Year’s celebration on January 1.
In Los Angeles, the Koyasan Buddhist Temple is the only Esoteric Buddhism temple which can provide a major event like Japan. For last ten years, several thousand people visit the Koyasan Temple on the first three days of January.
The highlight of the Koyasan’s New Year’s ritual is the first fire rite (Hatsu Goma) on January 1 at 10:00 am.
In the fire rite (Goma), the fire symbolizes the wisdom of Buddha and the wood sticks symbolize human desires, the root of suffering. It is believed that the Buddha burns away the root of suffering as people pray for their wish to come true.
In the Koyasan Temple, Bishop Taisen Miyata will officiate the Hatsu Goma service in the morning of the New Year’s Day by chanting mantras and throwing tiny sticks into afire place set up inside the temple.
During Hatsu Mode period, the temple also provides New Year’s ceremonial goods such as Omikuji (fortune telling slips), Hama-ya (good luck arrows), Oma-mori (amulets), Ema (picture tablets) and consecrated Ofuda (charms) for sale.