During my trip to the Asakusa neighborhood of Tokyo, I stopped by the Sensoji Temple and I discovered Omikuji!
Omikuji (おみくじ) are Japanese fortune-telling paper strips that can be found at shrines and temples throughout the country. The fortune that one is granted can range from having a great blessing (大吉) to a great curse (大凶).
While I do not personally believe in fortune-telling, I thought it would be interesting to experience this unique aspect of Japanese culture and to see what kind of fortune I might get.
When starting the process of getting your omikuji, you need to pay ¥100 for your fortune.
After you have finished paying, shake a box full of numbered sticks that will decide your fate.
After a few seconds of shaking, remove one stick from the box, read the number, and place the stick back in the shaker.
Based on the number that your stick has on it, select a fortune paper (omikuji) from the appropriate drawer.
After selecting your fortune from the drawer, read it. Some temples (such as Senso-ji) will have an English translation of the fortune on the back of the paper for you, while some will not. In this case, here is a handy ‘cheat sheet’ for you:
Reading my bad fortune 🙁
If you select a bad fortune like I did, do not keep it! The tradition is to tie your fortune to a pole, a tree, or between a door and leave it at the site of the temple.
If you are lucky enough to get a good fortune reading, carry it with you.