Recently, when hunting for another shrine stamp, I grabbed a leaflet because it had this map on it that looked interesting.
Last Monday, I got up in the morning, the sun was shining, it felt like spring and off I went in search of those shrines on the map. All eight (= hachi) of them are dedicated to a god or deity of good luck (= fukujin). And I was lucky, I found all of them :-)
1_Tsukuda Sumiyoshi Shrine
This first shrine is located on a little island. Here you can pray for safe travels even though originally it was probably only meant for fishermen going out with their boats. Let’s hope it also includes riding a bike nowadays.
Of course a Hachifukujin tour should not only benefit the pilgrim but also the places of pilgrimage. That’s why you cannot only buy the standard lucky charm articles but also dedicated souvenirs. I bought the board at the bottom for 600 yen. It had the first stamp on it. The additional 7 stamps you will get one by one when visiting the other Hachifukujin shrines and temples. For a fee of 200 yen each…
But I was lucky, I also got a stamp for free. At this Sumiyoshi shrine you can get seasonal flower stamps and stamp them on a small leaflet which will remind you when you should visit again. I got a camellia stamp and I also saw some first camellia flowers. Unfortunately, I had rained a lot the two previous days, so the flowers looked a bit battered.
The second shrine is a modern one, located in an urban part of the city and dedicated to conception and safe childbirth. It has a stroller parking space and there were many couples with their new born babies taking pictures of themselves in front of the shrine.
This shrine tucked between houses is quite small but the selection of lucky charms was huge. It’s said to be a strong source of luck and grant protection from evil.
4_Dairoku Tensakaki Shrine
The fourth shrine on my tour brought me close to home. It’s the shrine were I found the Hachifukujin leaflet a couple of weeks ago. It has two entrances and is guarded by lions. The theme here is longevity and health.
This buddhist temple is not part of the Hachifukujin tour but I drove past it on my way to shrine number 5 and had to visit it as well. It’s situated on a little hill. You can either take the stairs or there is even a mini cablecar, apparently the shortest monorail in Japan.
The temple seems to be dedicated to daikon, Japanese radish. There are radishes everywhere. Radishes carved in the stone of the stairs. Radishes carved in the wood of the temple. Fresh radishes piled up in the prayer room. Fresh radishes for sale where you can buy the lucky charms. Radish radish radish…
Not sure if it’s true but they say it’s here where maneki-neko, the beckoning cat, was “born”. One thing is for sure, this shrine is all about cats. And is visited for its matchmaking powers. I did see a few couples there…
Yoshiwara Hanazono pond
Another little place I discovered on my way between shrines. Even though you can’t really tell from the picture, the kois were huge!
This one took me the longest to find. Not because it’s hidden or something. No, because the translation app wouldn’t work properly and I couldn’t work out the name of the shrine and search for it on my mobile phone. With patience and luck – from the first shrine? – I finally got there. Not exactly sure, which luck you are meant to receive here. Somewhere I read it’s about household piece. What’s for sure, it’s the place of the yearly Asakusa Tori no Ichi festival in November.
The second last shrine sits next to a little hill protected by monkeys and many cats are roaming the place. Afterwards I read that the hill is meant to be a replica of Mount Fuji made with stones from the real Fujiyama. So, if you’re not fit enough to climb real Mount Fuji, on two days per year they open the gate and you can climb Mini Fuji.
The last shrine was the easiest to find, actually almost impossible to miss. The big red tori on the main road marks the side street you have to take. The deities living here help your business to prosper.
8 shrines and some temples later, it was time to head back. My Hachifukujin tour resulted in a whole day trip through the eastern part of Tokyo. It’s quite a fun way to explore the city. Lucky, I already found another shrine map. This one with 26 shrines :-)