Praying To The God of Wealth

Had a great time (where else but in Japan can you get a squid on a stick?) and delivered the prayers to Ebisuten (the God of Wealth).

squid on a stick
squid on a stick

Half the fun is the walk to the shrine and back. The streets are lined with booths for all types of food and games. Imagine a local school carnival on steroids and you’ll begin to get the picture. Of course, once you arrive at the shrine it doesn’t stop. The booths continue on until you reach the main area to pray. Good fun all around.

The first thing that happens when you walk into the area to pray is that you’re blessed by having this paper thing (imagine a large duster made of paper) placed on your head.

being blessed at ebessan
people being blessed on entry

Once inside, there is a huge tuna where people place coins for good luck. While the priests say that placing the coin anywhere on or in the fish is fine, people seem to believe that you’ll receive the best luck if you are able to make your coin stick on the outside of the fish.

huge good luck tuna
placing good luck coins on the tuna

Once finished it’s time to pray for good fortune. I brought along 22 five yen coins (the five yen coin is considered a coin of good luck) to make a wish for all those that requested I do so for them.

good luck 5 yen coins
22 good luck coins – one for each person

After tossing the coins, I made the requests that everyone had passed along. Usually you would shake a large bell to summon the Gods, but because there were so many people they had taken them down, Therefore I simply clapped and then prayed.

praying for good fortune
Jeffrey passing on everyone’s requests to the God of Wealth

After the prayers are over, the first order of business is the God of Wealth taking as much money away from you as possible 😉 As you exit there is a place to purchase “omamori” (talismans or amulets for good luck blessed by the shrine). While they sell omamori for everything from love to health to passing your school exam, I of course opted for 2 for business success (one for me and one for Nate)

the area to buy good luck talismans
the area to purchase “omamori”

business good luck talismans
Jeffrey’s & Nate’s good luck “omamori”

The good luck business success omamori cost $10 a piece (I wonder if I can deduct them on my taxes as a business expense). Of course this is just the beginning. Next there are good luck branches that are supposed to bring good monetary fortune.

good luck money branch
good luck money branches

These cost $10 for a small branch and $30 for a large branch, but we passed on these. Why? Because those are too small! Once you pass where they are selling the good luck branches, then you get to the good stuff. There are a number of different good luck money fortune items to choose from that range in price from $10 to over $500.

different good luck money charms
All the different money charms to choose from

All of these feature Ebisuten (the God of Wealth) and have a variety of meanings. There are rakes which mean that you will rake in money. Then there are scoops which are higher than rakes because you scoop up the money. Each has a slightly different meaning and, of course, the bigger (and more expensive) you buy, the more monetary luck you’re supposed to receive. My wife decided that we needed a scoop this year:

ebisuten good luck scoop
the God of Wealth good luck scoop we bought

Let’s just say that that we better have a pretty damn good financial year for what we paid for it!

The next stop was to get our personal fortunes:

the area to buy personal good luck fortunes
the area to purchase personal fortunes

You shake a wooden jar and take a stick out of it. The stick has a number and that is the fortune you’re given. These personal fortunes are simply a piece of paper that detail the type of luck you’ll have in different areas of your life. Once you are finished reading it, you tie it either to tree branches or a special area set up so that the fortune comes true.

hanging the personal fortunes
the area where personal fortunes are placed

Once that was finished it was time to head back and eat a ton of food along the way. Good fun all away around and it should be a prosperous year!

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9 Responses to Praying To The God of Wealth

  1. Michael says:

    Nice pictures! I could tell you are an Ebayer with the great close ups.

  2. Caitlin says:

    Great writeup – looks like a fun time. Thanks for being our proxy, the whole thing made me smile!

  3. visionary says:

    This seems fascinating. Its always interesting to see the cultural difference and how much the people over there value good fortune and successes. Love the squid!

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  5. Zorro's Steno says:

    Fascinating. It sounds like a church in northern Brazil (o Senhor do Bomfim (Mr. Goodend)). You buy these ribbons and make a wish and tie three knots. When it breaks, the wish comes true. Money, Love, whatever. Some people put them on their wrists and really scrub to speed up the process. Some put them on their license plates. Really anywhere, where eventually they’ll wear off.

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