Omikuji, the Japanese fortune papers

By japon1minuto | Jun 6, 2019
Culture Religion Japan

They are very popular amulets in Japan, they are small folded or rolled papers that open them to reveal the fortune in written form, we find them in practically all the temples and people usually buy them, it would be something similar to reading the weekly horoscope. Omikuji means "lottery or divine raffle" and that name is given that the prediction of fortune comes to us to extract it in a random way. To get an Omikuji a small offering is made to the temple and we choose a random paper. Formerly, a bamboo rod similar to chopsticks was taken from the meals that indicated the number of a box from which the Omikuji were extracted; Today we find them in different ways and even in vending machines.

Omikuji predicts your future in two different degrees. The first makes a general prediction in large letters on the top or center of the paper. This can be:

Excellent good luck (大吉 daikichi)
Good luck medium (中 吉 chūkichi)
Good luck light (小 吉 shōkichi)
Good luck (吉 kichi)
Average good luck (半 吉 hankichi)
Good luck uncertain (末 吉 suekichi)
Good luck light uncertain (末 小 吉 sueshōkichi)
Bad luck (凶 kyō)
Light luck (小 凶 shōkyō)
Half bad luck (半 凶 hankyō)
Uncertain Curse (末 凶 suekyō)
Curse or Great bad luck (大 凶 daikyō)

The second degree can be very specific with aspects of a person's life and usually talks about more specific topics such as:

Personal desires, business, studies, love relationships, illnesses, travel, work, etc.

The Omikuji predicts your future and can give you good or bad news.

If the prediction is of bad luck, the paper is folded and tied to a pine tree located in the temple; not all temples have a pine, so what we usually find a frame of pine wood with threads in which we can tie our predictions, in this way, bad luck will be waiting there and will not reach us.
If fortune smiles at you and your Omikuji has good news, you can save it and take it with you to ensure that the prediction is fulfilled or you can also tie it, as in the case of bad luck, in this case this will make our good luck cancel the bad luck of another person, and as gratitude for our gesture of generosity the gods will bless us with a luck even greater than that we had extracted.

Although we know Japanese it is difficult to read the fortune since the Omikuji are not written in normal Japanese but they are written in poetic language based on 100 Chinese poems of the Tendai Buddhist monks, although more and more temples and shrines already have Omikujis available in different languages so that tourists can also understand them.

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Written by japon1minuto
Hello: Since my childhood I have wanted to visit Japan, it was my most desired destination and finally I could make it come true with my partner. From our experience and more than 10,000 photographs, we began to share them on a website, in order to facilitate future travelers, how to plan your trip, as well as curiosities and basic tips. We invite you to visit our website before traveling to Japan.

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