SAN FRANCISCO — The Asian Art Museum will hold its 37th annual Japanese New Year’s Bell-Ringing Ceremony — “a great way to end a year and start a new year,” according to The San Francisco Chronicle — on Saturday, Dec. 31.
This is the first in-person bell-ringing ceremony since 2019: after two years of ringing the bell virtually, one of the museum’s most popular and long-running annual events is happening in-person again.
9:30–11 a.m.: Members only bell-ringing
11–11:30 a.m.: Touch tour of the temple bell for blind and visually impaired guests (pre-registration required)
11 a.m.–2 p.m.: Hands-on art activities
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.: General public bell-ringing
12:15–1 p.m.: Descriptive and tactile tour for blind and visually impaired guests (pre-registration required)
Ring in the new year by taking a swing at a 2,100-pound, 16th-century Japanese temple bell. Led by Rev. Gengo Akiba, this inspiring ceremony will include a purification ritual and chanting of the Buddhist Heart Sutra. Rev. Akiba will begin the bell-ringing, and then it’s your chance to ring the bell to leave behind any unfortunate experiences, regrettable deeds or ill luck from the previous year.
The bell will be struck 108 times to usher in the new year and curb the 108 mortal desires (bonno) that, according to Buddhist belief, torment humankind. While you wait your turn, fold paper cranes for luck and prosperity in the new year.
Visitors are encouraged to purchase general museum admission tickets before coming to the museum. An admission ticket guarantees entry to the museum, but visitors interested in joining the bell-ringing ceremony must pick up separate tickets to ring the bell at the main entrance to Samsung Hall once on-site. This event is first-come, first-served. To ensure you have a chance to ring the bell, you should arrive at Samsung Hall no later than 12 p.m. Members enjoy early admission to this event.
The Asian Art Museum is committed to making its events accessible to all. This event is wheelchair-accessible and assistive listening devices (ALDs) will be provided.
Blind and vision-impaired community members are invited to engage in a tactile experience as part of this annual celebration. Join a touch tour of the temple bell and receive priority seating for the ceremony. A descriptive tactile docent and storytelling tour of the newly renovated Japanese galleries follows. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
Cultural Celebrations are made possible by Bank of America. Support for the bell-ringing ceremony is provided by The Henri & Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation. The Asian Art Museum is located at 200 Larkin St. in San Francisco’s Civic Center. For more information, call (415) 581-3500 or visit www.asianart.org.