Thursday, January 11, 2018

Roll round with the year and never stand still

Last year, we completed our first Shichifukujin, or Seven Lucky Gods, pilgrimage for luck and happiness in the new year. You can read all about our 2017 pilgrimage and more about them in general here.

This year, I wanted to complete our neighborhood Shichifukujin, as I felt it would be more meaningful than some other location, so this year we visited seven temples in Zushi and Hayama. This time, we were able to complete it in only a few hours in one day! We used this blog from a previous military family's experience and this site in Japanese as our guides. It would probably been faster if we had a car, but between our feet, trains, and the bus, it was still easily doable.
Toshou-ji Temple - Fukuroku-jyu

Enmei-ji Temple - Benzaiten

Soutai-ji Temple - Daikoku

Choun-ji Temple - Hotei

Senkoin-ji Temple - Bishamonten

Gyokuzouin Temple - Ebisu

Kousho-ji Temple - Jyurojin

Happy Pilgrims
Our completed stamp sheet and the figurines and branch we collected

A few days later, I led another Shichifukujin with friends from church in Shinagawa, Tokyo (route and information here). This is one of the most walkable pilgrimages that I know of (good when leading a group of 15 people!) and with cute little figurines to collect and a boat to display them in. Here, you could get all the figurines and completed stamp sheet all at once at any of the temples, or collect them along the way. Had I never done one before, I might have collected them as we went, but for time's sake, I (and most of the women I was with) got them all at once. One of us collected them along the way, and we all visited all of the temples, so that counts for me!
Shinagawa-jinja Shrine - Daikokuten

Pilgrimage begins! Shinagawa-jinja Shrine - Daikokuten

I wore my rainbow hat so that my friends could follow me easily. The Japanese tend to wear muted colors and blend in, so I knew it would stand out. It worked! Apparently, I didn't get myself into the this group selfie as much as I thought though.

Yogan-ji Temple - Hotei

Isshin-ji Temple - Jyurojin

Ebara-jinja Shrine - Ebisu

Honsen-ji Temple - Bishamonten

All the pilgrims were great troopers!

Tenso Suwa-jinja Shrine - Fukurokujyu

Iwai-jinja Shrine - Benzaiten

Huge panda donut I found along the way. Sadly, it was filled with red bean paste instead of chocolate. It wasn't terrible, but chocolate or cream would have better.

Completed boat and stamp sheet

Fourteen temples in one week is quite a lot (and it wasn't even the final count! More on that later), but all the luck and fortune that should bring our family this year will be worth it! Do I actually believe in it? Probably not, but it sure couldn't hurt!


Giggles said...

I kind of like this tradition. I'm wondering if I couldn't make something similar in my life to start each new year. I'll have to ponder that this year.

AmandaStretch said...

I think you could observe hatsumode - the first visit to a Shinto shrine in the new year - in your way. By visiting one of our temples, as early in the new year as possible.

Giggles said...

We actually went to the Tucson temple on the 6th this month because it was closing for it's semi-annual upkeep last week and this week and we didn't want to run the risk of having something the last Saturday keep us from going. And, as it turns out, we've got something going on next Saturday now so that was good timing.

I was thinking more along the lines of what the 7 lucky gods represent and some way to acknowledge similar aspects in my life each year. Back when I was still setting goals each year (which also lined up with when I was actually sleeping), I'd set 5 goals in 5 different areas to ensure I was maintaining balance in my life. A year-long goal right now seems a bit much, but I think I still want to try to represent the different areas in some way so that I am still striving for balance. Kind of like, what would I put on my New Year's rake to represent my balanced desires for the new year.

AmandaStretch said...

Definitely good timing!

That makes sense - I hope you can figure something out that works for you!