|Having my kinen-shikishi or stamping sheet signed|
Another New Year's tradition of particular interest to me was the shichifukujin pilgrimage, or Seven Lucky Gods tour. Shichi means 7, fuku means lucky, and jin means god. You can read more about it from the link above, but basically visiting the sites of these particular gods will bring happiness, luck, and fortune for the pilgrim and it is particularly popular to do at the beginning of the year. And it's a really interesting way to see several temples and shrines in a short time!
We did the Kamakura shichifukujin, as outlined by this site
. It took us three different days, but since you don't have to finish it in a particular order or time frame, that's completely acceptable. I couldn't take photos of every statue, so the photos I'll share are either of the ones I could or of things of interest I found along the way.
Our first day was near the Hase station in Kamakura, where we found the sites for Daikokuten
(god of agriculture, wealth, farming, and commerce) and Fukurokuju (god of wealth, happiness, and longevity).
|Jizo are thought to be the guardians of travelers and the weak and have special purpose as guardians of infants lost to miscarriage or death|
Our second outing involved circling the streets surrounding the Komachi-dori, or most popular shopping street in Kamakura. Here, we found the sites for Ebisu
(god of the ocean, fishing folk, sailors, commerce, and fair dealing), Bishamonten
(god of treasure, scourge of evil doers, defender of the Buddhist faith, and patron of warriors), Benzaiten
(goddess of music, fine arts, beauty, eloquence, and literature), Hotei
(god of contentment, happiness, bartenders, and all classes of people), and Jurojin (god of wisdom and longevity).
|Found one of ours!|
|The official Benzaiten shrine for the pilgrimage|
Our final trip took us all the way back out to Enoshima, where we had spent Christmas Eve
. It's a popular site for the goddess Benzaiten, and even though we had already visited on place dedicated to her, this gave us our eighth and final stamp! It was also decidedly less crowded this time!
|Benzaiten shrine in Enoshima|
We celebrated with Hawaiian burgers, which were delicious. With these efforts, 2017 should be a great year for us!