Feb. 06, 2019 UPDATE

Visit the Seven Gods of Fortune in the New Year! (Part 2)

I tried out the Seven Gods of Fortune Pilgrimage, a traditional event during Japanese New Year!
Yumemi[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]

Now, in the last article, I introduced what the “Seven Gods of Fortune Pilgrimage ” was, how to go do it, and how many temples and shrines I visited!


In this article along with introducing the rest of the temples and shrines that I visited, I will write about what I felt after visiting them!


CONTENTS


・My Pilgrimage


・ Points for consideration and what I understood after finishing the Seven Gods of Fortune Pilgrimage



My Pilgrimage


4. Ebisu Shrine

Ebisu Shrine

Visit time: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00p.m.

Route: Rokuharamitsu-ji → 6 minutes on foot


The point for the fourth shrine and temple is the Ebisu Shrine, located just from the 3rd point, Rokkuharamitsu-ji. As its name implies, the shrine is home to Ebisu, the god of successful trade, business, fishing, and harvests. 

 

goshuin stampAfter visiting the main shrine, I got a goshuin stamp at the reception counter next to it! Maybe because it showed “Ebisu” written in the hiragana script, I got a bit of a soft, kind impression from it. 


What is more, looking closely, I saw that Ebisu himself was featured on the Torii gate! I took the opportunity to get a souvenir photo with him. 



5. Gyogan-ji

Gyogan-ji

Visit time: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Route: Kawaramachi Matsubara → Kawaramachi Marutamachi (Municipal bus Line #205 in the direction of Shijo Kawaramachi)→ 2 minutes on foot


Once I got off the bus, I arrived at the 5th point, Gyogan-ji.


I was finally in the second half of the Seven Gods of Fortune Pilgrimage! I was starting to feel hungry, but the main temple hall was so beautiful that I forgot all about it taking pictures (haha). Gyogan-ji is home to a god called Jurojin, who brings benefits for health, longevity and happiness!

 

reception counterAfter visiting the main hall, I went to the goshuin stamp at the reception counter next to it. There, I was told that, “Jurojin is in the hall to the left of the main hall, where the curtains come down.” I peeked inside from between the curtains, and saw that Jurojin was in fact there! I made sure to pray for good health. 

 

goshuin stampsHere, at Gyogan-ji, I received 5 goshuin stamps!! I was glad to see that my paperboard was gradually getting filled with red! The strong brush strokes of the “Jurojin” stamp that I got here on the bottom left make it particularly wonderful, don’t you think? 


Having visited five temples and shrines, I took a look at my watch and saw that I t was exactly 1:00 p.m. Since I was really getting hungry, I thought about getting lunch, which I ate at the “Shinshindo Teremachi Store,” located just a short walk away from Gyogan-ji and famous for its delicious bread! 



6. Matsugasaki Daikokuten

Matsugasaki Daikokuten

Visit time: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.(Goshuin stamps can be gotten until 4:00 p.m.)

Route: Kawaramachi Marutamachi → Shugakuin Ekimae(Kyoto Bus Line #43, in the direction of Iwakura Soshajo-mae)→ 8 minutes on foot


Now that my stomach was filled, it was time to resume my Seven Gods of Fortune Pilgrimage!


The sixth point along my pilgrimage, was Matsugasaki Daikokuten, which is the home of Daikokuten, who brings good fortune to both business and harvests! In front of the main hall, there was a representation of the god Daikoku made to be touched! Don’t you feel relaxed when you look at his gentle face? It was written to “pray and touch the parts of the statue for the parts of your body that hurt,” so I rubbed its head while praying, “may the migraines that I have been suffering from for many years go away.” 

 

only one stop left!After visiting the main hall, I got a goshuin stamp at the reception counter! Now, only one stop left! I was ready to do my best for this last spurt!


7. Sekizanzen-in

Sekizanzen-in

Visit time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Route: Matsugasaki Daikokuten →  Shugakuin Ekimae (Municipal Bus Line #8 North to Kitaoji Bus Terminal) → 18 minutes on foot


By this point, it was a little after 3:00 p.m. Even though the sun was dipping lower in the sky and it was getting colder, it was finally my last stop, and I was quite excited to see what kind of goshuin stamp I would get (haha). The last stop was Sekizanzenin, the home of Fukurokuju, who helps with longevity, health and preventing disasters. 


FukurokujuWhile there are many halls in the premises of Sekizanzenin, the hall in which Fukurokuju is enshrined is located next to the one in which all of the Seven Gods of Fortune are lined up together. It is quite easy to understand, since all of the Seven Gods of Fortune are there! Here, I prayed for health, and for the coming year to be a good one!


my stamp collectionAfterwards, I was able to receive my 7th goshuin stamp from the reception counter. This completes my stamp collection! I was really happy to have been able to receive all 7 goshuin stamps! How about it? Doesn’t it somehow seem that the Seven Gods of Fortune, who are drawn in the center, are pleased? (haha)


congratulations on completing your pilgrimageWhen receiving my goshuin stamp, I was told by one of the temple’s workers, “congratulations on completing your pilgrimage.” I felt very happy that I had worked hard!


After that, as a proof that I had completed the whole tour, the worker wrote the characters “満願祈念” on the back of my paperboard. Apparently,“満願”(mangan) means to “pray, or to discipline yourself, to the gods and the buddha for a certain number of days, and then to fulfill those days,” while “祈念” (kinen) means to “pray to the gods and the buddha!”

 

YumemiI was so filled with happiness to have completed the tour and properly received all of the goshuin stamps! I think that this feeling of achievement is something that you cannot understand unless you actually try. I felt that I was able to get a good start for this year! I will do my best this year too!



Points for consideration and what I understood after finishing the Seven Gods of Fortune Pilgrimage


The time it took


I left Kyoto station at 8:30 in the morning and finished touring all of the temples and shrines around 4:00 p.m. This means that, if plan to use public transportation, such as trains and buses, and including a break for lunch, it will probably take you around 8 hours. By the way, I stayed at each shrine or temple for between 15 and 20 minutes. 


The money you need


・Transportation costs


I just used trains and buses, and it cost me a total of ¥1,230.


One important point is to buy one of the ¥600 day tickets sold at Kyoto station before starting the Seven Gods of Fortune Pilgrimage. Since these tickets allow you to ride buses for an unlimited amount all day, they allow you to reduce your transportation expenses. 


・Expenses used in worship


The paperboard for the Seven Gods of Fortune Pilgrimage is ¥2,000, with each goshuin stamp costing ¥300 on top of that. In addition, the only point with an admission fee is Manpuku-ji, which costs ¥500 to enter (price for 1 adult). 


2,000 + 500 + 300 x 6 = 4,300


So, in total, it cost ¥4,300.


By the way, in addition to the above, you need a monetary offering when you worship. (I hope that you might understand that your offerings will be given to the gods and the buddha.) These offerings do not have to be of a high monetary value. In Japan, ¥5 coins and ¥50 coins are generally seen as bringing good luck. That said, if you are somewhere with a god that you particularly like, you may want to offer a little bit more. 


An important point when it comes to money is to prepare a lot of ¥5, ¥50 and ¥100 coins. ¥5 and ¥50 coins should be used for offerings, while ¥100 coins can be used to get the goshuin stamps. It is best to avoid using high value bills, such as ¥10,000 bills or ¥5,000 bills at a shrine or temple. 


Clothing


When traveling around various temples and shrines in the cold of January, I recommend wearing clothes that are both warm and make it easy to move around. Protective clothing such as a scarf, gloves and a hat are all good. When it comes to shoes, since you will have to go up and down many flights of stairs in the temples and shrines, shoes that are easy to wear and walk in are best. 


As for bags, a shoulder bag or backpack just large enough to accommodate your personal belongings is fine. My personal recommendation is a shoulder bag. You will need to bring out your wallet a number of times when worshipping, so a bag from which you can easily withdraw your wallet is better. Since you will be walking a considerable distance, you should try to make your bags as light as possible in order to reduce the burden on your body. 


Things to bring


・Handkerchief

Since you will rinse your hands and mouth at the shines and temples’ “chozuya” (water basin), I use it to wipe myself off afterwards. 


・Tissues

Gently wiping the goshuin stamps with a tissue is useful to avoid blotting when their ink doesn’t dry quickly. 


・Hand warmers

In addition to winter in Kyoto being extremely cold, you will be washing your hands in cold water, so your hands are likely to get very cold. Hand warmers will allow you to keep your hands warm, so they are very convenient to have. If you have hand warmers that you can stick to your clothes, feel free to use those too. 




So, how about it? This time, I visited all of the shrines and temples in one day, but the “Seven Gods of Fortune Pilgrimage” is not something that you absolutely have to do within the “Matsu no Uchi” period from January 1st to January 15th. It is also not something that you have to finish in one day.  Why not enjoy yourself at some of the sightseeing spots in the vicinity, make a detour to a trendy café, or just have fun walking around the city?

A comment from the staff
Yumemi
Although doing the Seven Gods of Fortune Pilgrimage and visiting 7 shrines and temples in one day was quite difficult, it was a lot of fun! I felt a sense of accomplishment once I was done, and I got an optimistic feeling, like this year is going to be a good one! The tour is taking place until January 31st (Thursday), so please give it a try!
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