Omikuji- Paper Fortunes

Our first few days in Japan were spent in a hotel in the Asakusa area of Tokyo – great for first-timers as it is not one of the busiest areas but has a ‘local feel’ and great vibes. It is on Tokyo’s east side and historically the home of the traders and skilled craftspeople during the feudal Edo period (1603-1868) and it’s also home to the Sensō-ji Shrine, Tokyo’s most visited.  I’d read about the Omikuji, or paper fortunes, at the entrances to shrines so decided to try my luck on our very first evening.
Here’s what to do:

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Japan is well known for its vending machines and you get your paper fortune from what could be described as an analogue version of these machines!

I put my ¥100 coin in the slot, picked up the metal canister, prayed, shook it and then pulled out a stick.

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I managed to decipher the number engraved in kanji on it then matched the number to the relevant drawer, pulled out the piece of paper inside….. to then read what I hoped would be a wonderful fortune.

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Beginners’ luck…….unfortunately not! I can’t even remember what it said, it was so bad I shut it out of my mind! So I duly tied the fortune (or lack of it!) to the bars and walked away.

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Luckily we’d read the instructions and believed that we could carve out our own fortune – which we duly did for the rest of the trip (and we didn’t try any more Omikuji again!)

…..and we went to look around the shrine, beautifully lit by night.

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