Japan rings in the new year
NHK -- Jan 01
People in Japan have rung in the New Year with celebrations across the country. In Japan, 2019 is a special year, as Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne in May. That will mark the start of a new era and the end of the current one, which is called "Heisei."

Many crowded into the world-famous Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo to participate in the countdown to the New Year.

Streets around the crossing were closed to traffic, as thousands of revelers gathered.

The crossing is popular among young people and tourists.

Hundreds of police officers patrolled the area and controlled the flow of merrymakers.

Meanwhile, worshippers flocked to a shrine in central Tokyo to pray for good luck in 2019.

People waited in line at Meiji Jingu shrine before the clock struck midnight.

When a drum was pounded to signal the arrival of the New Year, people threw money into a fenced-in area and offered prayers.

In Japan, people traditionally visit Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines during the first days of the New Year.

More than 3 million people are expected to pay their respects at Meiji Jingu during the first 3 days of 2019.

News source: NHK
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