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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogGood Luck Charms and More: Best Superstitions from Japan

Good Luck Charms and More: Best Superstitions from Japan

By Thuy Fang
January 17, 2024
A light blue and pink omamori.

Good luck charms are part of Japan’s culture. They bring a unique and magical touch to how people live each day, making it more colorful and exciting. In Japan, positive superstitions are precious, especially those related to the new year, because they can bring excellent outcomes for the entire year!

Wish on a shooting star three times!

The tradition of making wishes on shooting stars is one of Japan’s most common good luck charms. People believe that if you make a wish upon a shooting star three times, your dreams are more likely to come true. 

Two people looking at a shooting star.
This is a common superstition worldwide! Image via Shutterstock

Additionally, people believe that shooting stars happen when doors in the sky open. This lets special light come down to Earth. If you quickly say your wishes during this magical moment, it might be easier for kami-sama (gods) to hear you. This is better than making them come true without the wishes. Making three wishes is an excellent way for families and friends to keep the fun tradition alive.

Dream about Mt. Fuji and more!

A fascinating Japanese superstition is the first dream of the new year. The belief is that if the year’s first dream includes Mount Fuji, an eggplant, and a hawk, it foretells a year filled with good fortune. 

Mt Fuji with a cloud in the shape of a hawk.
A hawk, Mt. Fuji and eggplants are good luck symbols in a dream! Image via Shutterstock

Mt. Fuji holds special significance as a sacred mountain in the heart of every Japanese. Additionally, the connection between hawks and eggplants comes from a region near Mount Fuji where eggplants are highly valuable, and a residence with a hawk symbol exists. 

This superstition originated in the Edo period and involved wordplay based on the pronunciation of these elements. Therefore, Fuji symbolizes safety, hawks suggest outstanding achievements, and eggplants indicate accomplishment.

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Send gifts with an even number of bills!

In Japan, giving gifts is a popular tradition! People exchange gifts to show gratitude and celebrate occasions like weddings, anniversaries, and housewarmings. And there, the important thing is giving manners, not how expensive the gift is. 

Red envelopes and maneki neko one of many good luck charms.
A red envelope represents good fotune! Image via Shutterstock

If Japanese households follow the principles of Feng Shui, the tradition of gifting cash in red envelopes is common. Japanese households who follow the principles of Feng Shui commonly gift cash in red envelopes.

When giving cash gifts in Japan, giving an even number of bills is important because odd numbers might be bad luck. For weddings, the tradition is to give an amount that ends with the number 8, which is a lucky number in Japanese culture. However, giving an odd-numbered bill might be unlucky.

Have a tea stem standing upright in your tea!

Japanese people believe in another good luck charm. To them, tea stems floating upright are like strong center pillars. They hold up a house and bring peace and happiness to the family.

A teapot with black tea and tea leaves.
An upright tea stem represents the central pillar of a house! Image via Shutterstock

During the Edo period, tea merchants faced a challenge selling tea with stems. They found a positive way by saying that upright stems are lucky. If just one stem stands up, it’s thought to signify the arrival of a visitor or even a new love interest!

Meet spiders in the morning!

Spotting a spider in the morning is considered a positive sign in Japan. Since ancient times, the Japanese have thought of spiders as messengers connecting our world with the mystical realm with many good fortunes.

A wood foyer surrounded by bamboo trees.
Seeing a spider in the early morning is good luck! Image via Shutterstock

This belief might stem from the observation that spiders tend to weave their web during pleasant weather. On the flip side, encountering a spider at night is seen as an omen of bad luck because it’s believed to invite thieves into one’s home.

Get a four-leaf clover!

Four-leaf clovers are a widely recognized symbol of good luck in Japan. They even appear in anime and manga, gradually becoming one of the most beloved lucky charms. Japanese people think each of the four leaves stands for hope, faith, love, and happiness, making it a sign of blessings.

A four leaf clover, one of many good luck charms.
They love four-leaf clovers, even in Japan! Image via Shutterstock

Why are good luck charms important in Japanese culture?

Good luck charms are essential in Japan because they help people stay positive and hopeful about life. This is because these beliefs are part of their culture that improves life. Learning about these superstitions helps us understand and enjoy the beauty of Japan’s culture. What do you think about these good luck charms? Just leave a comment below!

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