New Year's observance at Tokyo's Meiji Shrine
This is a view of the throngs of crowds filing into to pray at the altar of Meiji Shrine during the Japanese New Year’s holiday season of Oshogatsu. This Shinto shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji (who reigned from 1867-1912) and is where over three million visitors came to pray for prosperity during the shrine’s new year’s holiday period from January 1-3, 2006. The policemen in the photo are officers of Tokyo Metropolitan police Department who were on hand for crowd control. Notice the special plastic face guards they are wearing to protect themselves from the constant barrage of coins being tossed at the altar.