Collect Gohoin Stamps on the Seven Lucky Gods Pilgrimage in Kyoto! (Part 7: Matsugasaki Daikokuten)
The Miyako Shichifukujin (Seven Lucky Gods Pilgrimage) is a popular pilgrimage in Kyoto that anyone can complete during a holiday to Japan. To do it, you need to visit the seven shrines and temples of the Seven Lucky Gods and collect a special calligraphy stamp for the deity enshrined at each stop. The stamps are called "gohoin," and collecting all seven is said to bring blessings and happiness. In this series, local college students take you on a journey through the Miyako Shichifukujin pilgrimage and report on all the must-see sites at each location! In our final stop, we visit the Matsugasaki Daikokuten (Myotenji) Temple, where Daikokuten is worshiped.
Jun 29 2020 (Sep 09 2020)
What Is Matsugasaki Daikokuten (Myoenji) Temple?
Matsugasaki Daikokuten is located in the northern part of Kyoto, southwest of Mt. Hiei. It's surrounded by nature, giving it a mysterious feeling. In autumn, it's surrounded by autumn leaves, adding to its beauty. It can be said to be one of Kyoto's hidden spots. Officially known as the Myoenji, it is commonly called the Matsugasaki Daikokuten after its location and its enshrined deity.
This is the main hall, the Daikokuten Hall. Once you take off your shoes and enter the hall, inside, you'll see a statue of a cow called the "Nadeushi." If you're feeling some aches and pains in your body, it's supposed to help if you stroke the corresponding part of the statue.
Additionally, the two mountains behind the temple are two of the sites of the Gozan Okuribi Festival, which takes place on August 16th every year. This festival is one of Kyoto's famous summer festivals and has a long history; it is where the souls of departed ancestors are sent to the otherworld. Fires are lit to form the characters for the words Myo and Ho. Every year, it's a sight that lights up Kyoto's sky as the fires burn.
Who Is Daikokuten?
Daikokuten is one of the seven deities of good fortune. His origins are Indian, and in Buddhism, he is said to be a Buddha who transformed to bless the poor with wealth. He is worshipped as a god of wealth, good fortune, and business prosperity.
He wears a compassionate smile, rides on bags of rice and carries a bag and mallet. The mallet is known as the "Uchide no Kozuchi" and is especially well-known. It's said that when the mallet is waved, the items that you wish for will fall out.
He is often considered to be the same as Okuninushi no Kami, the Shinto deity worshiped at Izumo Taisha Shrine and one of the deities that features prominently in the Kunizukuri Shinwa (Myths of Japan). He is widely worshipped across Japan, often as a pair with Ebisu. This is because Ebisu is regarded to be the same as Kotoshironushi Kami, the son of Okuninushi no Kami.
Matsugasaki Daikokuten is a temple that has a deep connection to Daikokuten. The picture above is of the Nade Daikoku statue. Stroke it to bring good fortune!
Inside the hall is enshrined a portrait of Daikoku painted by Saicho, the founder of the Japanese Tendai Sect. This portrait is known as the "Kachu-shutsugen Hibuse-shugo no Daikoku-sama" (meaning Daikoku, appearing from the flames, protector from fire). In 1969, there was a fire and the hall was burnt down, but the portrait escaped the flames and was undamaged. Even today, this portrait is revered by the residents of the area and many others from far and wide.
Every 60 days, a temple festival called the "Koshi Festival" is held, where participants pray for the fulfillment of their wishes. You can also get a gohei (a staff with plaited paper, shown in the picture for above) for 1,000 yen, which is beneficial for longevity, good fortune, good luck, and health. Be sure to visit if you have the chance!
Collect the Gohoin Stamp!
With this, all seven gohoin stamps have finally been collected! The complete collection looks magnificent!
Besides the stamp, you can get a variety of unique souvenirs at Matsugasaki Daikokuten, like the Shichi-fukujin wallet (1,500 yen).
The School Bag protective charm (1,000 yen) is highly recommended. The cute charms in the shape of backpacks used by Japanese elementary school children are available in red, blue, yellow, black and pink.
There are other interesting goods, like this T-shirt with "Daikokuten" written on it. You'll have no trouble finding something unique to take home!
With this visit, our Miyako Shichi-fukujin pilgrimage is complete! This is a great way to visit some off the beaten track temples, collect good fortune and blessings from each shrine and temple that you visit, and get to know Japanese culture and customs at the same time. We highly recommend giving it a go when you visit Kyoto!
To look back on our pilgrimage, you can check out the other six other shrines and temples we visited here:
Seven Lucky Gods Pilgrimage, Kyoto
- Part 1: Gyogan-ji Temple
- Part 2: Manpuku-ji Temple
- Part 3: Toji Temple
- Part 4: Rokuharamitsu-ji Temple
- Part 5: Ebisu Jinja Shrine
- Part 6: Sekizan Zen-in Temple
- Part 7: Matsugasaki Daikokuten
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.