When you talk about good-luck spots in Japan, shrines automatically come to mind. Here are five of the top shrines in Tokyo that are famous for the benefits and luck that they give to visitors.
1. Tokyo Daijingu (Tokyo Grand Shrine)
Affectionately known as “Tokyo no Oisesama" (Ise Shrine of Tokyo), Tokyo Daijingu is a shrine that is known as the god of weddings. Pilgrimage to Ise Shrine had been a fervent wish among people from the Edo era, but it was quite difficult to do that back in those days when the transportation system was not yet as developed as it is today. In light of the hopes of the people then, this shrine was built as the “yohaiden" (a shrine built to give the same effects and benefits to people who came to worship even from afar since the place they wanted to go to worship had been too far and not easily accessible) of Ise Shrine in 1880. Deities that work to connect all living creatures are enshrined here, so this shrine is said to benefit marriages as well as bring about safety to one’s family, prosperous trade, transport safety, success in school, ward off evil, and invite good fortune. It is particularly famous as a strong power spot in the middle of Tokyo, so there is no let-up in the throngs of worshippers that come even on weekdays. And for souvenirs, you might want to check out the cute talismans they have, such as the Hello Kitty charms.
2. Kanda Myojin (Kanda Shrine)
Kanda Myojin Jinja is known for being the venue of Kanda Matsuri, one of the three major festivals in Japan along with Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri and Osaka’s Tenjin Matsuri. Built in 730, this shrine is very popular among businessmen and companies. The enshrined deities here are Onamuchi no Mikoto, Sukunahiko no Mikoto, and Taira no Masakado no Mikoto. Sukunahikano no Mikoto, also called Ebisu-sama, is the god of prosperous businesses, so worshipping this god is said to give good luck to your business. Onamuchi no Mikoto is called Daikoku-sama, the god of marriage, while Taira no Masakado is the god that gives good luck for victory to worshippers. This shrine is famous for the unique talismans and charms they sell, including a talisman that will protect the information in your computers. It’s the perfect charm against virus infection, computer crashes, and other computer-related troubles! This charm looks like an IC chip, so it’s perfect as a souvenir. The “kachimamori" (success talisman) is also good for those who want to boost their luck. So, if you’re ever in or near the area, make sure to drop by this shrine!
3. Yoyogi Hachimangu Shrine
Yoyogi Hachimangu Shrine is located on a plateau in a quiet residential area. This shrine, which is surrounded by rich greenery and enveloped by an atmosphere that will make you doubt you’re in the city, hosts remains of ancient dwellings from the Jomon era (around 13,000 BC to 300 BC) that will give you a sense of the strong powers of deities from ancient times. This shrine was built in 1212 in a site that was considered sacred since the Jomon era and it houses the spirit of Emperor Oji. Looked up to as the god of protection of the state, he is known as a god for warding off evil and bringing in good fortune. The Yoyogi Hachimangu is said to be a power spot for luck in competitions, promotions, and successful careers. The Shusse Inari Daimyojin that has become famous after being featured on TV is on the right side in the back of the haiden (worship hall). A visit to this shrine is said to lead to luck with promotions and advancement in careers, so it is frequented by many Japanese celebrities and businessmen. This is a shrine that must be visited by those who want a boost in their careers! It is also recommended for times when you want to refresh your tired body by being surrounded by nature.
4. Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine)
Meiji Jingu is a shrine that boasts of a vast area of approximately 700,000sq.m. It is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. During hatsumode, the practice of visiting a shrine or a temple at the start of the New Year, this shrine attracts more than 3 million worshippers in four days, from December 31st to January 3rd, every year. Covered in lush greenery thanks to the manmade forest that was built with nearly 100,000 trees donated to the shrine from all over the country, the whole grounds of the shrine where fresh air flows is considered a power spot. It is also filled with many other features, including the Kiyomasa Well, a well of fresh spring water that is rare even in metropolitan cities. The huge torii gate at the entrance of the shrine is made from natural wood and measures 12m in height and 17.1m in width, with each pillar having a diameter of 1.2m and weighing 13t. If you worship by going toward the worship hall from in front of the Meotokusu pair of camphor trees inside the shrine precinct, you will be blessed with a good and happy marriage. On weekends, there are sometimes Japanese-style weddings held at this shrine, and if you’re lucky, you just might witness one of those traditional weddings in Japan! So, if you’re ever in Tokyo, it would be well worth your time to visit Meiji Jingu.
5. Hie Jinja (Hie Shrine)
Hie Jinja is a power spot that brings about good fortune for matchmaking, warding off evil, career advancement, and job promotion. The deity enshrined in this place is the Oyamakui no Kami, the god of the foundations and elements of all things. Nobody knows when this shrine was built, but it is said to have been erected long ago to protect Edo (old name of Tokyo from 1603 – 1867). Its torii is designed in the shape of a mountain, so it called the “san no torii" (mountain gate), making it different from those of other shrines. Enter the sacred area inside the shrine precinct and you will feel a high level of power. The main building and the worship hall are also famous as power spots for boosting luck at work and achieving promotions. In particular, this shrine is recommended to those who want to engage in politics and global businesses. Further, the messenger of the god at Hie Jinja is the monkey. Rub the left side of the Goshin-en, the images of the monkey couple at the entrance of the shrine, and you will be granted luck in matchmaking and better luck in life. Go ahead, try it!
Note that there are still a lot of other impressive and potent shrines in Tokyo. When you go to the shrines, though, it would be best to visit the deities in the worship hall first and then tour the precinct inside the shrine after. You just have to visit these urban oases that are covered in greenery.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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