I’ve been sort of curious about the hari kuyo festival ever since I came to Japan. It’s a ceremony where people bring their old sewing needles and pins to a temple to show their appreciation for their service. It’s been around for centuries, and originally originated in China. This is the beginning of the New Year on the old Chinese Lunar Calendar, and was traditionally a time when people didn’t work, so they would go to the temple or shrine to dispose of their old pins from the last year.

The festival was very small and friendly, and the costumes were beautiful. Apparently the tradition is slowly dying out, but the organizers think it’s important to keep it going, not because they necessarily still believe that pins have a spirit, but to remind people to take care of and value the small, everyday objects around them.

The festival is held on Feb. 8 every year. See the contact information below for more information.


All the people who were touching the pins wore these masks.



At most temples, the pins are stuck into tofu (apparently because it’s soft so the pins will feel comfortable), but here, they were just thrown in this bin.


The president of a pin company praying.


These offerings were thrown into the air at various times during the ceremony.


Name: Hari-kuyo (Shojuin Temple)
Date: 2009.2.8(Sun)~2009.2.8(Sun)
Location: Shojuin Temple, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Transportation: (1)Subway Marunouchi Line to Shinjuku-Gyoenmae Sta., and then walk 5 min. (2)Subway Marunouchi Line or Toei Shinjuku Line to Shinjuku-Sanchome Sta., and then walk 5 min.
Fee: Free