Omamori: 8 Lucky Charms To Try in Japan!
With thousands of people rushing to see the shrines and temples in Japan every day, did you ever stop to wonder what those little charms and trinkets that you can buy are? They are called omamori, and they are lucky amulets you can use to protect yourself and ward off bad luck. Each and every one has a different purpose, and so here are 8 types that will come in handy for almost anyone!
Jul 30 2019 (Jun 06 2022)
1. Good-Luck Omamori - Study
Japan is a nation known for its competitive education system as many Japanese people hope to attend established colleges and secure well-paying jobs. Thus, the examination culture weighs heavily in the minds of children and parents alike as they want to be a cut above the rest. Hence, if you have to sit for an important examination, why not visit a shrine and obtain a good-luck omamori? This kind of omamori will have kanji characters like 学業成就 (“gakugyou-jouju”) .
To secure stellar grades, Japanese children and youth flock to various shrines which are well-known for the realm of learning. Particularly, Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Fukuoka Prefecture receives millions of visitors every year because it is dedicated to Sugawara Michizane, the god of learning. Another shrine that's worth exploring is Yushima Tenjin (Yushima Temmangu) in Tokyo Prefecture. Buy one such omamori and rest assured in the knowledge that Sugawara Michizane is watching over you!
You’ll need reservations while in Japan. See our writers’ top picks!
2. Good-luck Omamori - Sports
As the saying goes, "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Passionate about their endeavors, many Japanese people devote tremendous amounts of time and energy towards their hobbyist pursuits. Ardent fans of baseball will then definitely wish to visit Yakyu Inari Shrine in Saitama Prefecture. Part of its name sounds similar to the Japanese word for baseball ("yakyu"), so this shrine leverages the likeness by selling good-luck sports omamori for athletic travellers who wish to improve their ball-playing skills. Incidentally, the omamori is shaped like a baseball bat or baseball glove, which is a funky addition to your collection!
3. Omamori to Make it Big in Showbiz
If you are enthusiastic about music and even play in a band, you may want to get acquainted with Benzaiten. Lighting up your mood with a benevolent smile, Benzaiten is a Japanese Buddhist goddess who is known as one of the Seven Lucky Gods. Commonly associated with beauty, good health and longevity, she endears herself to both expert and amateur performers because she is the patron deity of the arts. Hence, if you wish to be recognized for your artistic talents, perhaps you could visit Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island, Hiroshima Prefecture and buy a benzaiten omamori to put on your instrument case. Fame and glory await you!
4. Love Omamori
Love features prominently in many Japanese people's lives as they hope to attain bliss by meeting their soulmate and setting up a family together. So, given how love can sometimes be elusive, it is fortunate that the Japanese can pray for divine intervention at many popular shrines. So if you are looking to spice up your love life, don't miss out on visiting some of these shrines.
Single people can aspire to meet the one love of their life by visiting Izumo Taisha Shrine in Shimane Prefecture. One of the holiest shrines in Japan, it is dedicated to the god of nation-building, Okuninushi-no-okami, who is renowned for sparking connections. What better place to get your love charm than Izumo Taisha Shrine? Make your way there and get an omamori that comprises kanji characters 縁結び御守 (“enmusubi-omamori”) .
Couples who are looking to solidify their love will be exhilarated to get a love charm for couples at Hakone Shrine in Kanagawa Prefecture. These heart-stirring charms come in pairs - all the better to commemorate love with.
For the ultimate guide on shrines and temples that offer attractive love charms, please refer to our carefully curated article: 30 shrines and temples in Japan to get lucky charms for love.
5. Overcoming Hardship Omamori
If you are experiencing some rough times recently, you may wish to make a trip to Ataka Sumiyoshi Shrine in Ishikawa Prefecture. Fun fact ahead: it is the only shrine in the whole of Japan that is dedicated to the god of breakthrough, so this makes the overcoming hardship omamori you buy here truly one of a kind. Check out the kanji characters 難関突破 ("nankan toppa") to make sure you buy the right kind. Then sit back and breathe easier because the god of breakthrough will surely be touched by your sincerity and grant you the strength to overcome your challenges.
6. Safe Delivery Charm
After falling in love and overcoming hardship together with your better half, you may find yourself ready to start a family. A pregnancy can be a time fraught with confusion and anxiety, so what better way to soothe your frazzled nerves than a thoughtful safe delivery charm from Japanese shrines? Such charms will have the kanji characters 安産 ("anzan") and may feature cute pictures of babies.
Suitengu Shrine in Tokyo Prefecture is famous for its safe delivery charms because it has a bronze statue of a female dog and her puppy on its premises. (Dogs are auspicious creatures for childbirth.) Another place you should consider is Nakayama Temple in Hyogo Prefecture. If the mother of Emperor Meiji attributed her safe delivery to this temple, you know that you are in good hands. So why not get a charm at either of these two places to reduce your stress so that you can focus on ushering in the arrival of your little one?
For people who don't mind a dose of cuteness overload, check out our article and learn how to get your hands on safe delivery charms that come with rabbit motifs that tug at your heartstrings.
7. Warding off Evil Charm Omamori
Have you ever encountered periods in your life where bad luck plagues you like a persistent shadow, no matter how hard you try to pull yourself out of this undesirable situation? In this case, it will do you good to have divine power on your side, so you could consider purchasing a warding off evil omamori. Distinguished by the characters 厄除 (yaku yoke), this charm will keep evil forces away from you.
Seimei Shrine in Kyoto Prefecture is great for obtaining such an omamori as it is dedicated to Abe no Seimei who practised the fine art of yin and yang known as onmyodo.
Another promising shrine is Akagi Shrine in Tokyo Prefecture. This shrine propelled the career of popular illustrator, Shigeru Mizuki, into stardom as the prayers he made for the success of his anime - GeGeGe Kitaro - came true. Indeed, you may wish to rub off on his good luck by getting his specially designed warding off evil omamori; it even comes in the form of Kitaro's chanchanko kimono jacket!
8. Going Back Omamori
Ise Jingu Shrine in Mie Prefecture is reputed to be one of Japan's holiest shrines, dedicated to the patron god of the Imperial household. But a short way away is the Futami Okitama Shrine with its famous Meoto Iwa (Married Couple Rocks): two rocky stacks, a big one and a small one, connected by a ceremonial "shimenawa" straw rope. A small torii gate stands atop the larger of the rocks as well.
This shrine offers a variety of omamori marked kaeru (かえる), or "to return." Buying such an omamori will help you return to a desired state of being in many areas of your life. For instance, you may want to return home safely, recover from your illness promptly or you can receive an inflow of money after going out (which will help you restore your finances). The possibilities are many, so get one now to receive blessings in a myriad of ways!
From the fancy to the sacred, from the famous to the obscure, Japanese shrines and temples offer a multitude of omamori that promises to cater to your every need. Why not buy a few of these heavenly blessings to usher in good luck into your life?
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.