#184 O-Mikuji

O-Mikuji are fortunes written on paper that you can get at shinto shrines and buddhist temples in Japan.


Often, you shake the wooden container full of sticks and the one that comes out has the number for your fortune.


Rather more cryptic instructions

The o-mikuji is a paper with your luck written on it – often things like love, work and money. Typical fortune telling stuff.


O-mikuji can be written many ways: 御御籤, 御神籤, or おみくじ but it simply means ‘sacred lot’.

There are a variety of blessings.. the one above is 大吉, read as dai-kichi which translates as great fortune which is actually the best. The worst is 大凶, read as dai-kyou, which means great curse. Ouch.

Some people claim that o-mikuji are the precursor to random fortunes in cookies.


After you have received your fortune most people will tie it to a branch/stand in the temple… especially if it’s bad luck. That’s because pine trees are called 松/‘matsu’ and it’s a pun on the word 待つ/‘matsu’ which means to wait… so the bad luck will attach itself to the pine and wait rather than follow you around and ruin your life.


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