One of the most-awaited events in Japan during the New Year holidays is visiting the seven lucky gods in shrines and temples where statuettes are being sold. There are many ways for people to do this which mostly include walking courses or pilgrimages across the country. Let’s explore the beautiful walking course of Shibamata.
Shibamata, with is nostalgic charm, is known to some as the setting of the Otoko Wa Tsurai Yo film series. It is also well-known for hosting the seven lucky gods’ walk, which you can actually finish in less than 2 hours. However, some people who prefer to go sightseeing during their pilgrimage take almost half a day visiting the gods.
You begin your walk at Keisei Takasago Station. When you reach the gate, go out the north exit and turn left. Look for the lane to Kanzoji. For about 250 meters, you have to keep following the lane until you reach the gate to the temple grounds. You have to purchase a shikishi that costs 200 yen. The shikishi is inscribed at each place you visit to show you have successfully visited the god that is honored there. This is not only an important method of motivating you to visit all of the gods, but will also serve as a memento of your accomplishment. In addition, you will be given a map of your destination temple located on the back of the shikishi.
The lucky god in Kanzoji is Jurojin, god of long life. The next god is Ebisu, god of fishermen and merchants, is located in Io-ji temple. This is near Shinshibata-station. After paying Ebisu a visit, you can go to Hosho-in to visit the god of wealth and commerce, Daikokuten.
The next location, Manpuku-ji takes less than 10 minutes to reach from Hosho-in, and is where you can visit the god Fukurokuju, the wise god of happiness, wealth and longevity. Then head up to Taishakuten Daikyoji temple to visit the god of war and warriors, Bishamonten.
Temple number 6 is Shinshoin where you can visit the only female among the 7 gods, Benzaiten, goddess of knowledge and art. With the final stop in Ryoganji, you can now receive a blessing from Hotei, the god of good health and abundance.
A blessing from each lucky god is sure to be a great kick starter to 2016!