Ever hear about Koami Jinja (Koami shrine) in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi? Frequently featured in TV shows for its ability to increase financial luck as well as being effective in warding off evil spirits, it was even used as a location in the movie “Kirin no Tsubasa”. This time we visit this shrine which is also known to house one of the seven gods of fortune.
The legend behind the strong ability to ward off evil
Although it is a cozy and calming shrine you can definitely feel the power upon arrival. It is also the only shrine in Nihonbashi made solely out of wood.
There is a reason it has become well known as a ward against evil spirits and brings good fortune. The shrine survived the fire bomb air raids of Tokyo, as well as all the soldiers who came here before heading out to battle survived unscathed during world war two, so many believe that the god that is enshrined here brings tremendous luck while warding off evil.
People come here for many reasons such as when looking for jobs, buying lotto tickets, before exams, etc. It’s also one of the shrines that is visited when going to all seven of the gods of fortune.
Tokyo's "Zeni arai Benten"
As pictured above there is a small well “Zeni arai no Ido” where you can wash coins to keep in your wallet to increase financial luck, this effect gives this shrine the nickname “Tokyo Zeni arai Benten” (coin wash goddess). The little basket is adorable isn’t it?
When I visited, instead of taking time to pray I hurried here to wash as many coins as possible to give to my friends and family, but it might appease the goddess more if I had taken time and was respectful to only wash a few.
“Benzaiten” (goddess of music and wealth) who resides here at Koami shrine, is originally from “Manfuku jyuji” (Ten thousand happiness temple) which was on the same grounds. During the Meiji period’s ordinance to separate Shinto and Buddhism the temple was abolished and Benzaiten was transferred to the shrine. At the temple there was a statue that depicted the goddess on a ship so it is also known as “Manfuku funanori Benzaiten” (Manfuku sailor Benzaiten).
Every October there is a festival where you can make offerings to the goddess.
Cocoon written oracle
Amongst the many talismans there is one thing that stands out, the written oracle which is inside a silk cocoon. There is a slit in the back where you can take out the fortune written down.
I bet many people not only buy this for its good luck and its symbol of vigor, but you can also keep the cocoon as a talisman which is also adorably shaped.
Cocoons swaying in the wind on the grounds
Not only are cocoons used to tell fortunes with written oracles, but they are also used decoratively like above tied to trees swaying in the wind.
Don’t miss the carvings of the opposing dragons flying up to heaven as well as flying down to earth, which are said to be the Dragons which ward off evil.
Visiting the shrines of the 7 gods of fortune
The shrines of the 7 gods of fortune in Nihonbashi including Koami shrine are easy to round in pilgrimage, while enjoying the working class feel of the town.
Every year from January first to the seventh the “Nihonbashi shichi fukujin moude” (Nihonbashi new year shrine visit), as well as the “Tokyo shitamachi hachifukujin mairi” (Tokyo working class town 8 god of fortune shrine pilgrimage) there is a “Hato bus” tour bus that goes to all the shrines. Also you can plan for a seasonal visit around such festivals as big festival held on May 28 or the “Doburoku festival” (home brew sake festival) held every November.
I recommend going here to receive good financial luck, and to ward off evil spirits because of its proximity to Tokyo and Ningyocho stations making it easy access when just visiting these areas.
*Please check with the shrine about festival days as they can be different each year.
For information call 03-3668-1080 You can visit anytime but talismans and such are only sold between 9am and 6pm For access please look up the Koami jinja homepage in the links below.
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