Ninen Mairi (二年参り)

Ninen mairi (two-year shrine visit) is one style of hatsumode (the practice of visiting a Shinto shrine on New Year's Day). When, late on New Year's Eve, people visit a shrine at around midnight, the visit essentially straddles both the old and the new year, and thus is called the "two-year visit."

In most cases, people simply visit a single Shinto shrine just once at around midnight, but a type of ninen mairi also exists in which the person visits the shrine once on New Year's Eve and returns home temporarily, then visits the shrine again once New Year's Day dawns. In general, it is standard for people to choose to visit the shrine of their patron Shinto god, but in some cases people instead visit a shrine closer to where they live, or choose to pay homage at a famous shrine (for example, at Meiji-jingu Shrine or Atsuta-jingu Shrine). Because of the practice of ninen mairi, there is a custom of having public transportation on New Year's Eve run all through the night without any stoppage.

[Original Japanese]