Omikuji (おみくぎ) noun – random fortunes written in Japanese on paper. Typically found at Shino Shrines and Buddhist Temples in Japan.
A while ago, I wrote this post about getting your Omikugi fortune told. Since then, I’ve realized that there are other ways to get your fortune told at a temple, rather than just the old-fashioned shake-the-box-pull-out-a-stick-and-grab-your-fortune-based-on-the-number-you-drew method.
I’ve also learned that the Asakusa Senso-ji Temple (the place I got my Omikugi fortune told last time) is famous in Tokyo for giving out bad fortunes.
So don’t trust the randomly assigned piece of paper you get at the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa.
In any case, there are a couple more options for getting your Omikugi fortune told, all depending on the temple.
1. The one I talked about earlier. For reference, see this post.
2. Insert 200 yen in this machine, watch the dragon puppet dance and make possessed noises for about ten seconds, and your fortune is automatically dispensed.
I like this one because the dragon dances for me. And it’s a pretty creepy looking puppet.
This is the Kiyomizu Kannodo temple in Ueno Park.
3. This Omikugi fortune telling box works on the honor system. But I guess, to be fair, number 1 also worked on the honor system (and stealing a fortune kind of defeats the whole purpose…).
You drop 200 yen in the middle and then grab your fortune. Only grab one.
This was Benten-do Temple temple in Ueno (near the zoo), so it gets a lot of foreigners. Therefore, the fortunes are written in both Japanese and English.
4. Pay 100 yen, shake a box until a small slab of wood comes out, hand the wood to the worker, and he retrieves your fortune for you.
This one was at Meji Shrine, arguably the most famous shrine in Tokyo. Despite the high concentration of foreigners (since this temple is pretty high up on the list in every guide book about Tokyo), the fortune was in Japanese, with no English.
This is also kind of impossible to cheat the system.
5. Drop a 100 yen coin into the machine and your fortune is automatically dispensed. Not so much fun… but it’s basically impossible to cheat at this one.
This is a fairly old-fashioned machine.
One last note: not all temples and shrines have omikuji fortune telling booths. Usually only the large ones have it. Of course, there are other fortune-telling booths and machines that I’ve seen in Tokyo; these were just the most interesting.
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