All TopicsNewsTravelAnimeKawaii CharactersKawaii FashionJapanese StationeryMember Spotlight
YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogLucky Charms at Japanese Shrines & Temples

Lucky Charms at Japanese Shrines & Temples

By James
December 16, 2021

What draws people to Japanese shrines and temples? First, if it’s called a ‘shrine’ it’s a home of the Shinto religion. And if it’s called a ‘temple’ it’s a place of Buddhism. So just by this distinction alone, you’ll be able to discover certain differences and unique points between the two, so we recommend always having at least one of each in mind to visit, just to get the full experience. Japanese people as well generally don’t fall into strictly one category. Rather, Japanese tradition tends to embrace both Shinto & Buddhist teachings and customs.

Additionally, many shrines & temples are a look into history as many popular ones tend to be a couple hundred years old, rich with history and interesting origin stories. And of course we can’t fail to mention how many of these sacred spaces are within green, verdant areas that are great for a stroll with family or friends.

Our biggest recommendation though, for any shrine or temple that you visit, is to be sure to check out the lucky charms that each individual one has. Once you know the different types, what kinds of luck they can purportedly bring, and the sometimes cute and unique designs that they have, you’ll love keeping an eye out for these!

We also recommend trying to visit during the New Year’s season for the first shrine or temple visit of the year, called ‘hatsumode’.

Omikuji

Omikuji are the classic style of fortune that you cannot miss when you make your visit! They generally do require some Japanese language knowledge, but some at the larger shrines in big cities like Tokyo or Kyoto include English translations on them too. Either way, they are generally nicely designed and quite exquisite looking. 

What makes omikuji interesting is that they’re so detailed. The little slip of paper offers predictions on love, health, dreams, and luck for the upcoming year. There are standardized levels of luck as well that one may receive. 

大吉 – Daikichi – Excellent luck 

吉 – Kichi – Good luck

末吉 – Suekichi – Uncertain luck

凶 – Kyou – Bad luck 

大凶 – Daikyou – Very bad luck

If you draw a fortune that isn’t particularly lucky, you may fold it up and tie it to a designated pine tree or wooden bar so that the bad luck won’t attach itself to you. If you draw a very lucky omikuji, however, it’s common to take the paper with you to use as a good luck charm.

There’s no need to go far for the best kawaii Japanese goods! YumeTwins sends them straight from Japan to your door each month!

Omamori

This is another classic, and many people keep them on their keys, in their cars, on their backpacks, or decorated in their room. ‘Mamori’ basically means ‘protection’ or ‘care’ and they’re even popular as gifts for friends or loved ones. 

In the past, they were made out of paper or even wood, but in present-day you’ll generally find them in the form of small pouches made of soft, quality fabric. In fact, these pouches hold a prayer inside, which are blessed before being sold to the public.

Some popular types of omamori include ones that include a prayer for good grades in school, a healthy childbirth, good luck, safety from evil, protection for cars & travelers, success in business, and success in finding a marriage partner.

Ema

Ema are beautiful, double-sided wooden plaques on which visitors can write a wish on the back and hang up at the shrine or temple in order for their wish to come true. The word ’ema’ itself can be translated as ‘horse picture’ and horses are still the most popular designs. Recently though, shrines produce unique illustrations with zodiac animals or famous local sights. There are even blank ema so that visitors may create their own.

If your wish comes true, it’s common practice to revisit the same shrine that you placed the ema at, and either write a new wish on a new plaque or simply say a prayer of gratitude. 

In the 8th century, offering a horse to the gods was believed to make a wish come true, as horses were prized as sacred. Nobles used real horses at first but it was a burden to the shrines. Eventually they sculpted true-to-size figures from wood.

Over time, this ritual was simplified and the sculptures became illustrations of horses on large wooden plates, and finally the reasonably sized ema that we know today came to light. 

Which of these three lucky charms are your favorite? Let us know in the comments below! 

Enjoy Popular Japanese Kawaii Merchandise Every Month!

Starting from $32.50 USD
Get YumeTwins
Author avatar
James

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enjoy Popular Japanese Kawaii Merchandise Every Month!

Starting from $32.50 USD
Get YumeTwins

Related Articles

Japanese Valentine’s Day and Chocolate

January 18, 2022

Have a sweet tooth? Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day, one thing we can all agree on is that it’s a great time for chocolate lovers!

Kawaii Date Spots in Tokyo for Valentine’s Day

January 08, 2022

Whether you want to say in or go out, there’s a lot to plan for Valentine’s Day. Check our recommendations for a kawaii date in Tokyo!

How to Ace the ‘Kawaii Aesthetic’

January 06, 2022

Anyone who knows anything about Japan is familiar with the word kawaii which means ‘cute.’ That being said, the term kawaii has its own special connotations which have transcended the meaning of simply ‘cute.’

Love In Japanese Folktales

December 29, 2021

Long before Valentine’s became big in Japan, certain folktales kept the dream of finding true love alive.

How To Celebrate a Kawaii New Year’s

December 27, 2021

New Year’s in Japan is steeped in tradition. Learn how to add some of its kawaii and unique aspects into your own celebration!

YumeTwins logo

Be a YumeTwins Insider!

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive kawaii news!


Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

Accepted Payments
Visa payment availableMastercard payment availableAmerican Express payment availableDiscover payment availablePayPal payment available

YumeTwins Logo

Be a YumeTwins Insider!

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive kawaii news!

Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

Copyright © 2021 TokyoTreat™. All Rights Reserved.
Accepted Payments
Visa payment availableMastercard payment availableAmerican Express payment availableDiscover payment availablePayPal payment available