furn4Omikuji 御御籤, 御神籤, or おみくじ o-mikuji are random fortunes written on strips of paper at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan. Literally sacred lot, these are usually received by making a small offering and randomly choosing one from a box, hoping for the resulting fortune to be good.

The o-mikuji predicts the person’s chances of his or her hopes coming true, of finding a good match, or generally matters of health, fortune, life, etc. When the prediction is bad, it is a custom to fold up the strip of paper and attach it to a pine tree or a wall of metal wires alongside other bad fortunes in the temple or shrine grounds.

A purported reason for this custom is a pun on the word for pine tree 松 matsu and the verb to wait 待つ matsu, the idea being that the bad luck will wait by the tree rather than attach itself to the bearer. In the event of the fortune being good, the bearer has two options: he or she can also tie it to the tree or wires so that the fortune has a greater effect or he or she can keep it for luck. Though nowadays this custom seems more of a children’s amusement, o-mikuji are available at most shrines, and remain one of the traditional activities related to shrine-going, if lesser. wikipedia

9 Responses to “Omikuji – Fortunes”

  1. rimassolosailingaroundtheworldm

    Thank you so much for sharing your blog very interesting was to read

    Reply
  2. live.retridemption

    Eventually, once I can read Japanese and get into the country, I shall be doing this! Can’t wait.

    Reply
  3. stvl33

    Great – I will look for these when I get to Japan! I saw some Thai versions of these in Thailand.

    Reply
  4. janalinesmalman

    This is such a lovely custom! Thank you for explaining it, I have always wondered why there are so many tied to trees or wires at most shrines in Japan.

    Reply

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