The 都七福神めぐりMiyako Shichifukujin Meguri (Miyako Seven Lucky Gods Tour) is a tour of seven temples or shrines in Kyoto City dedicated to the Seven Lucky Gods from Japanese mythology and folklore who come from India, China and Japan. Many people visit these gods to start the new year right by receiving good luck for the year. This tour has become so popular that there is even bus transportation provided for visitors during the month of January when the tour takes place.
Mr. Man clued me in on this tour and went with me to attain the special calligraphy and red seals, each ￥300, on a 色紙shikishi, or a fancy square cardboard, that we got at the first shrine (Ebisu Shrine for us) in January 2009. The temples and shrines are as follows (in the order that we went):
ゑびす神社Ebisu Shrine for えびすEbisu, the god of fishers and merchants
六波羅蜜寺Rokuharamitsu-ji Temple for 弁財天Benzaiten, the goddess of knowledge, art (especially music) and beauty
萬福寺Manpuku-ji Temple for 布袋Hotei, the god of abundance and health
東寺Toji Temple for 毘沙門天Bishamonten, the god of warriors
赤山禅院Sekizan Zen-in Temple for 福禄寿Fukurokuju, the god of happiness, wealth and longevity
妙円寺Myouen-ji Temple (松ヶ崎大黒天Matsugasaki Daikokuten) for 大黒天Daigokuten, the god of wealth, commerce and trade
行願寺Gyougan-ji Temple for 寿老人Jurojin, the god of longevity
I always get Fukurokuju and Jurojin mixed up since they both are known for longevity but Fukurokuju is the one with an abnormally high forehead (he looks like a thumb with a face☺). Sometimes I also mix up Ebisu and Daikokuten because they both have to do with trade but Ebisu is the one who holds 鯛tai, or sea bream, while Daikokuten is holding a sack.
the shikishi in the plastic bag from Ebisu Shrine.
the shikishi of calligraphy and red seals
a closer look at the picture of the Seven Lucky Gods on the 宝船Takarabune, or “Treasure Ship”, the gods’ means of transportation when arriving in the New Year to distribute gifts to the worthy
I’ll eventually write more details about the temples and shrines in posts to come.☺