On the first day of the year, many Japanese go to the nearest shrine to pay their respects to the gods and ask for good fortune in this new year.
Even in a simple shrine like in my neighborhood, there are quite a lot of people coming on that day!
Note that this is only valid in Shinto shrines and not in Buddhist temples.
At this occasion, they bring the charms and amulets they purchased the previous year, to be burnt by the priests.
Of course, it's also the occasion to purchase the new ones that will protect the family for the 12 months to come.
And well, yes, this is Japan so any gathering wouldn't be complete without a few food stands!