The Christmas wreath is replaced by a Japanese new year version that my wife makes every year.
The Japanese word for "new year" is "Osho Gatsu" ].
To say "Happy new year" you should utter "Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu" .
Or you can use the colloquial form which is "Ake Ome!" pronounced "ahke ormeh" but only use this with people who you know very well.
The gongs strike at midnight and everybody cheers and claps.
At the end of the queue in the shrine is a box where people throw in money, clap twice and say a prayer with their hands clasped together. Most people are wishing for good fortune and health for the new year while others are wishing to meet the 2D girl of their dreams so that they can get married early.
A list showing the unlucky years. If you are male and are 42, 25 or 61, you are going to be hounded by evil spirits and bad luck.
If you are a woman and are 37, 33, 19 or 61, you will also be followed by evil and bad luck.
But luckily, the shrine sells items which will protect you from these spirits in the form of parchments.
The parchments needs to be blessed however and if you purchase some at midnight then you need to go back the next day to collect them.
These arrows are called "Hamaya" and literally translated as an arrow which destroys demons. First came across the kanji for this when playing Onimusha on the PS2.
Folks buy these and stick them at home which they would use to shoot demons.
You can buy fortune parchments which will either say "you will have a great year - loads o fun, health, happiness and money" or "you will buy a small cute puppy which will grow up and eat you."
For folks who end up with a parchment that says the latter, they tie to this fence so that it doesn't come true.