Though common Japanese are not devotional as I wrote ever, new year’s visit to a shrine or a temple is ordinary custom. Exactly saying, visiting temple is completely different from praying at shrine.
To ding a bell of a Buddhist temple is done around the midnight of the last day and, in general, it should be 108 times. Maybe as you know, its tone is very low. Interestingly, people may visit a shrine also in order to pray a happy year. The first picture was taken at a Buddhist temple just after finishing preparation of year-end ringing a bell.
The third picture was taken at a shrine, close to the temple in the first and the second pic, where many people were praying for 2014.
at Yokohama, Japan.