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What is omikuji?


If you don’t know yet what an omikuji is, this is definitely something to add to your list of things to do while traveling in Japan. It’s a fun and traditional Japanese experience. Keep reading if you want to know more!

Draw an Omikuji Fortune Slip

They are found in all shrines and temples in Japan. They are Japanese fortune-telling paper strips that detail what awaits you in matters of work, love, fortune, health, study, travel, motherhood. You can of course experience it throughout the year, but Japanese people traditionally go to the temple or shrine at the beginning of the year to draw their omikuji.

The fees vary between 100 or 200 yen. To draw yours, there are usually boxes, which you shake to bring out a stick on which a number is written. Your omikuji corresponds to this number. A little more on the modern side, there are also vending machines that are selling those fortune telling papers.

The fortune granted is divided into several ranks: high luck, general luck, medium luck, low luck, and bad luck. It is customary to take your omikuji home if it is of great luck or general luck. If your luck is not up to par, you can tie the fortune-telling paper in designated spots to thwart bad luck by leaving it behind.

Ushi Tenjin, Tokyo
On the right, you can tie your omikuji, Ushi Tenjin, Tokyo

Omikuji are often written in Japanese, but in some temples and shrines, they can be found in English too.

The cutest souvenir

Omikuji can also be found in small ceramic statuettes. The paper is hidden inside and you can retrieve it by pulling on a red string. You can then keep the small statuette which makes a nice souvenir.

For the Kamakura themed Peko Peko Box, we have selected this magnificent dove-shaped omikuji. Why a dove? It is said that the deity enshrined in Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū shrine was guided by doves.

Omikuji shaped like a dove from Kamakura
Omikuji shaped like a dove from Kamakura

They are also very special in that they do not contain good or bad fortunes but rather life teachings. And they are in Japanese and English!

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