Part.3 You will never get bored until the moment of countdown.
(7) While waiting for the date to change in the main hall, you can enjoy the night view from the terrace like Kiyomizu-temple in Kyoto.
When you arrive at the terrace of the main hall, it is crowded as it is, but you can still walk around. You can purchase incense sticks and candles, so please offer them for the atmosphere. The incense here smells good. It's also a good idea to make a donation before the year changes and look back on the past year and pray for gratitude.
The area in front of the offertory box is crowded with people waiting for the countdown, so you should go to the other side of the terrace. The other side of the terrace is less crowded, and you can see the night view of Nara in the distance. The altitude here is about 400m, so the view is quite good.
(8) You can experience the Kaidan tour in the basement of the main hall.
After viewing the night view of Nara, enter the main building from the entrance right next to it. You may think, "Huh? Is it okay to enter here? Doesn't it look like only related people and parishioners can enter?", but it's okay. It is an area where general visitors enter on a daily basis.
Here, there is something called Kaidan Meguri. Let's pay the worship fee (only 200 yen) and visit. Most of the visitors don't know this exist, so it is usually empty. At the back of the stairs leading down to the entrance, you can see the stairs leading up to the exit, so you can tell that it goes around inside.
Dark! It's pitch black. You must fumble your way through the walls. There are several turns on the way. (Well, of course.) There is something like a small window in one place, and it is dimly lit, so you can tell, "Ah, here is the place to pray?" (There is a sign at the entrance that read "Ichidai Mamoru".) Afterwards, when you go through the darkness again, this time you will find something like a metal padlock on the wall. It is said that if you grab it and knock on the wall, you will receive good luck. (Nyoihoju lock)
After doing the Kaidan tour, the inside of the building is warmer than the outside, so if it doesn't look like you will be on other people's way, you can wait around the entrance. The countdown is just around the corner. In front of the principal image in the main hall, there are worshipers waiting in “seiza”. This is a place for those who have applied for a special prayer (or parishioners). If you have not applied at the main hall reception desk, please refrain from entering. (I personally think it's ok to be there if you were about to offer a lot of money into the offertory box.)
(9) Enjoy a sense of unity with other countdown visitors.
For some reason, every year, there is a group(s) of young people who make loud announcements like, "It's the New Year in one minute!" Probably, there is no doubt that the same thing is happening all over Japan. Chant 10, 9, 8,,, 3, 2, 1 with many other visitors. (Don't shout at shrines and temples, just whisper.)
Happy new year!
Visitors put money in the offer all at once and start making wishes. In the main hall, the prayers by the doushi (monks) begin. Suddenly, the atmosphere of the New Year is here all at once. This year, as a countermeasure against corona, the bell string was hung out of reach, so the flow of visitors was smooth.
If it's difficult, instead of trying to use the central offertory box, use the temporary offertory boxes on the side to do your prayers. The location of the offertory box and the position of making a wish have nothing to do with the benefits. There are still many visitors waiting with the traffic regulation. It's best not to spend too much time here.
At this point, most people are already thinking, "What a wonderful countdown to the New Year!" But this is not the end.
Following the countdown at the main hall, something very cool awaits you!?
Please visit my glass jewelry shop from the link below.