Love Fortune in Kyoto

September 1, 2019

by Mayu Nishikawa & Natsumi Nishimura

There are many kinds of shrines and temples in Kyoto. There people pray for various things such as health, happiness, work, and learning. Of course, praying for love is important in life. Many shrines in Kyoto house the deity of love. Moreover, the Gion area, where many shrines are gathered, is best for praying for love. If you are in love or are considering getting married, you should go to places that we recommend, and try a love fortune. First, do you know what omikuji is? Omikuji is the paper that tells us about our future. One of the kinds of omikuji is a love fortune, which tells us about our future as concerns love. In this article, we will introduce two places that are well-known for their love fortunes: Yasui Konpiraguu and Jishu-Jinja shrine.

Yasui Konpiragu

Love Fortune in Yasui Konpiragu
Power Stone

If you want to meet the god of marriage, you have to go to Yasui Konpiragu. It was built by Kamatari Fujiwara in 671 A.D. Yasui Konpiragu is the shrine connected with breaking off all kinds of bad relationships and initiating good ones. You can break off not only relationships between men and women, but also all relationships with things such as sickness, alcohol, cigarettes and gambling. Once you do so, a happy life will follow. The love fortunes at Yasui Konpiragu are colorful and very cute. These omikuji in this picture are pink and blue. I’ m sure you’ll want to take a picture them. The way to draw a fortune is to pick a stick, and then you tell the Shinto priests the number on the stick. They give you the love fortune paper. It tells your fortune on the topics of health, love, and money. There are several kinds of luck. Daikichi means best luck, kichi means good luck, and kyou means bad luck. If you get a lucky strip, you should bring it home, but if you get an unlucky strip, you should go home after tying the strip to something, like a tree or fence, in the shrine. In the shrine, there is a power stone monument for breaking off relationships and initiating good ones. It is in the shape of an ema, or wooden prayer tablet. It is said that if you pass through this stone with a wish, the wish will come true. Do you want to meet a wonderful boy or girl? If your answer is “yes”, we recommend you that you go there immediately.

Jishu Jinja Shrine

Lovefortune in Jishu-jinja
Love Stone

Jishu-jinja Shrine is located within the famous Kiyomizu Temple. This shrine is the oldest shine containing the deity of love in Kyoto. The history of the shrine is not clear because it is said the shrine was founded before Japan was established around 660 B.C. This shrine is famous for its love stone. This stone has existed from the Jomon era (12,000 B.C. ~ 4500 B.C.) There are two stones in the shrine separated by about 10 meters. The way to have your fortune told is simple, but difficult. First, you must stand in front of one stone. Next, close your eyes and walk to the other stone while making a wish. If you can walk to the other stone, your wish will come true soon. If you can’t walk, it takes a long time to make your wish. Furthermore, if you can walk because of people around you, your wish will come true by being helped. In other words, advice from people around you helped your wish come true. The shrine has not only love stones, but also love fortunes. There is a graph near the fortune section. If you draw a fortune, please follow instruction on the graph. Finally, the shrine sells love charms of various types. Therefore, you can find the perfect charm for you. As we said before, the shrine is in Kiyomizu temple. Many tourists go there. Therefore, we recommend that you go to the shrine in the early hours of the morning on weekdays. We hope your wish come true!

We recommend you to visit two great love fortune places. Which shrine do you like? There are many shrines and temples in Kyoto. They will help your love, and you will be able to make a boyfriend or girlfriend. Moreover, if you have a lover, god will lead you into marriage. Let’s try drawing a love fortune.

Access

Yasui Konpiragu

The shrine is accessible 24 hours a day. The reception desk’s opening hours 09:00~17:30 From Kyoto station- No.206 city bus bound for Kitaoji bus terminal, get off “Higashiyama Yasui” bus terminal.

Jishu Jinja Shrine

 The opening hours 09:00-17:00 From Kyoto station- No.86,206,100 city, get off “Gojozaka”

Hatsumoude – A Japanese New Year Tradition

by Miyabi Saeki, Shiho Tojo, Sakina Nishitsuji

Hatsumode is a Japanese tradition of visiting a shrine or temple for the first time at the start of a new year. Hatsumode is a very important custom for Japanese people because it gives them a chance to pray for happiness in the upcoming year with their family members. People pray for the sake of their health, studies, pregnancies, traffic safety, love, and various other things. For this reason, many people go to the shrine on New Years Day, so it is always very crowded at that time. At larger, more popular shrines, vendors of different types also put up stands on the shrine grounds or even outside the shrine. The whole atmosphere is like that of a festival.

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History of Hatsumode

Originally hatsumode was called toshikomori, and was a time for people to stay in their houses from the night of December 31st to morning of January 1st. This custom was meant to give people happiness by giving them a chance to meet Toshikamisama, or the God of the New Year. Toshikomori changed to hatsumode about 100 years ago, during the middle of the Meiji period. Many years ago, there was little in the way of transportation, so people could not so easily get to a shrine. These days, however, trains run almost non-stop, so people can easily get to the shrine and pray for happiness.

Hatsumode Customs

There are three main customs related to hatsumode that all Japanese people carry out during their New Years visit to the shrine: washing hands, praying to the gods, and drawing a fortune slip.

Washing Hands

When praying for good fortune, people follow a number of steps in order. The very first things people do is wash their hands. This is important because they need to enter the shrine symbolically clean. Here is how to do it:

1. Grab the ladle with your right hand and scoop water out of the basin with it;
2. Use this water to rinse your left hand;
3. Repeat the above steps with the opposite hands;
4. Grasp the ladle with your right hand again and pour the water into your left hand to rinse the mouth;
5. Still holding the ladle in the right hand, scoop water to rinse the left hand again, leaving some water in the ladle;
6. Rinse the ladle using the excess water. To do this, tilt the ladle upwards until the water pours out from the scoop and over the shaft.

Praying to the Gods

After people wash their hands, they walk to the main hall. That is where the saisenbako is, a large wooden box. In front of the saisenbako is a large bell with a rope hanging from it. Everyone stands in front of the saisenbako. Then, they pray to the gods for good luck. The way to pray is as follows:

1. Grab the rope and ring the bell. This is to wake up the god of the shrine.
2. Toss a coin into the saisenbako. Five yen coins are commonly used for this.
3. Bow to the shrine twice.
4. Clap hands twice in front of the saisenbako.
5. Pray for wishes.
6. Bow once, and then walk away from the saisenbako.

Omikuji – The Fortune Slip

In addition to praying to the gods, visitors also draw a fortune slip, called omikuji. These can be purchased at the shrine, often for around one hundred yen. Each omikuji represents different levels of luck for the year: very good luck, good luck, OK luck, bad luck, extremely bad luck and so on. Omikuji also tells you your fortune in specific areas of your life, such as health, romance, money, and education. After reading the fortune, most people hold onto it.

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Famous Hatsumode Locales

There are many shrines for hatsumode in Kyoto. Each one has a unique series of gods and spirits representing different energies.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

Located in Kamigyouku, Kitano-Tenmangu shrine is famous for the god of studies. Therefore, many students go there to pray. However, not everyone prays for their studies; some people go there to pray for their good health or other purposes.

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Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is one of the most famous shrines in Japan, and is in Fushimiku. This shrine is dedicated to the god of business, so if you are one of the many businesspeople visiting Japan, we recommend that you go there. Fushimi Inari Shrine has some famous structures. There are the hundreds of torii, or tall red gates, to walk through, each donated by a different Japanese business. The building made from hinoki, or Japanese cypress trees, is the main shrine and is an important cultural property. It was refurbished in 1499. Also, there is a tower gate painted in red, which was made by the contribution of Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1589. Hideyoshi Toyotomi was a famous Japanese politician who helped to unify Japan during the Sengoku period.

There are two events at Fushimi Inari Shrine for New Year’s Holiday on December 31st and January 1st. December 31st is when the Oharae ceremony is held. It is an event that cleanses people of the sins they committed in the second half of the year, to try to enable them to spend the New Year without impurity. Next is the Saitan festival on January 1st. At the event, people pray for safety and prosperity from the god of Inari Shrine.

Heian-jingu Shrine

Heian Jingu is probably the most famous and iconic shrine of Kyoto. It is in Sakyouku. It was built to memorialize the peaceful removal of the Japan’s capital of 1100 years. Kyoto was laid wasted by war at end of Edo period. So this shrine was built by enthusiasm of Kyoto’s citizens. It is one of the main locations of the famous Jidai Matsuri, which is held in October each year. There is also a Japanese garden and a shrine garden around the main shrine. The total area of the gardens is about 30,000 square meters. Cherry blossoms and irises bloom there during certain times of the year.

Heian Jingu is dedicated to the emperors Kanmu and Koumei. Praying there is supposed to improve your fortune. During hatsumode, many people pray for business prosperity, good luck, sending away evil spirits, matchmaking, and the success in school. New Year’s ceremony is held on January 1st, at 6 o’clock.

Shimogamo Jinja Shrine

This shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto, and also in Sakyouku. It contains two shrines within: the East and West shrines. Each shrine has its own separate god, the two of them being husband and wife. Shimogamo Jinja is also known for its magnificent cherry blossoms, autumn leaves, and its fresh greenery. The famous Aoi Matsuri festival is held at Shimogamo Jinja each year on May 15th. At Hatsumode, many people come to pray at this shrine for good luck in marriage and having kids.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many kinds of shrines in Kyoto. So before you go to Hatsumode, you should choose which shrine is suitable for you. From the last day of the year to the second day of January, Kyoto city buses and the subway remain in business during the night at no additional fee. You can go to Hatsumode as soon as the New Year begins, but at that time the shrines are always very crowded every year. If you don’t want to go when it is crowded, you should try going to a shrine from 3 a.m to 5 a.m., when there are fewer people.

Enjoy your New Year’s in Kyoto.