Culture, Nature,

“Get lucky” in Tokyo – “Power spots” at temples and shrines are trending!


Recently, in Japan, visiting “power spots” is very popular. The term “power spot” is a Japanese-made English word for a spiritual place, which is believed to have some kind of good influence and endows visitors with healing energy. Luck, love, health…There are several power spots in Tokyo and today, I would like to introduce you some very unique shrine and temple and their power spots!

Toranomon Kotohiragu Shrine – Match-making, but for women only


Kotohiragu is surrounded by skyscrapers

Kotohira Shrine, which was built in the Toranomon area in 1679, is a very interesting shrine that is integrated with the adjacent office building. The shrine bureau that sells amulets is completely covered by an office tower. Even if it rains, you won’t get wet!


Some of the shrine buildings are “covered” by an office building

In the vicinity of the shrine, you will see a strange rounded stone pole. This is a “hyakudoishi” (= hundred time stone).  People of old times believed that prayers will come true if you repeat walking up to the shrine (or temple) 100 times while praying for your wish to come true. Today, you will sometimes find scenes like this in Japanese movies or anime – not so much in reality. By the way, it seems that the wish of someone actually has come true at this shrine, and in return, he gifted the big stone to the shrine.

The main attraction of this shrine isn’t the big building. It’s a smaller shrine on the righthand side. That is because you this shrine is for everyone who wants to build a good relationship with someone – including the search for someone to marry. The “en musubi prayer set” for 800 yen includes a red string and an amulet. If you tie the thread around a string at the small shrine you might find love…or at least a great friend!


My friend Sunmi purchased a “en musubi” set – hopefully, she will find the right one!


The “red thread of fate” is believed to symbolically tie two people together

This type of “en musubi” is limited to women. Before, women used their own hair to tie it around the string at the small shrine. Even now, you can see some human hair between the red threads – but since this is very unsanitary, please purchase the “en musubi” set!

Location: 1-2-7 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Atago Shrine – If you step up the stone steps, you might be able to step your game up!

Atago Shrine is a 10-minute walk from Kotohira-gu Shrine. This shrine is located on a naturally formed mountain. You can go up using a taxi or an escalator, but if you can don’t miss the chance to climb the steep stairs up to the top.


At the foot of the stone stairway

In the Edo era, about 400 years ago, there was a shogun who passed Atago Shrine. When he saw the blooming plum trees on Mt. Atago, he demanded a branch of a plum tree. But none of his vassals dared to climb the mountain. In order to take the mood of the general, one servant rode his horse up the stone stairs and brought a branch of blooming plum blossoms safely back to the shogun. The shogun was touched by the servant’s amazing equestrian skills and courage. The servant got promoted. From that time on, it is believed that when you climb the stairs, you will succeed at work.


Sunmi and I on our quest for success

There are still many people climbing the stairs wishing for a career advancement, but there are also a lot of joggers repeating ascending and descending the stairs for training.


The torii-gate at the Atago Shrine

Atago Shrine is a very green, very photogenic shrine, especially the torii gate surrounded by trees is impressive.


Atago Shrine is a green oasis

A small cafe at the shrine sells shaved ice with plum taste during the hot summer months. The plum syrup used for the shaved ice is made from plums of the plum trees of the shrine. In other words: the same plum trees that appear in the old “success story”. The plums are believed to fight evil and get rid of bad influences (this is called “yakuyoke“). Well, in that case: let’s eat some shaved ice– in the precincts that appear in the lecture. If you can do “miserable” by eating sweets, you have to eat it!


Getting rid of all evil while eating sweets – that’s the way I like it!

Location: 1-5 Atago, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin Temple – A temple loved by celebrities

Tokyo’s famous temple “Toyokawa Inari” is located in Akasaka (right next to the State Guest House and Tōgū Palace where the son of the Japanese emperor lives with his family). Many people visit this temple to pray for business prosperity.


The North gate of the temple looks “normal” – wait until you go inside!

Looking at the lanterns that decorate the building where amulets and omikuji fortune slips are sold, I realized that all of them have the names of famous people on them. Most of the names are of entertainers and idol groups. In other words, many entertainers believe in the power of this temple. The lanterns a symbol for their thankfulness and gratitude towards the Toyokawa Inari temple.


This temple is said to have various good effects on different parts of your life. Apart from prosperous business and raising your chances of becoming an entertainer in general, you will find statues of the “Seven Lucky Gods” (shichifukujin), countless fox statues and many many other places dedicated to luck and a happy life.


Buying a “omikuji” fortune slip is one thing you MUST try in Japan

I was curious about my near future, so I bought a “omikuji” fortune slip. Interestingly, the omikuji at Toyokawa Inari were divided into omikuji for men and for women. I opened mine and… “Daikichi”!! I got the best fortune! Thank you, Toyokawa Inari temple!


My omikuji says “dai-kichi”, great blessing or “big luck”

Right next to the temple – still on the temple grounds – there is an area with small shops. One of them sells a specialty: inarizushi. The inarizushi of this shop is said to be delicious – that’s why they even tv programs show this shop from time to time. In front of the shop, we had to line up in a long queue. Some of the people weren’t even able to buy these treats because the inarizushi sold out immediately.


The “inari-zushi” are sold at a small shop on the South side of the temple

We got our hands on the famous inarizushi and ate them on a bench nearby. They tasted sweet. And the red ginger was painfully hot!! What a sweet and hot combination. These inarizushi are in fact very delicious, so if they aren’t sold out – buy them.


inarizushi – tofu filled with rice

Location: 1-4-7 Moto-Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

How did you like my compilation of power spots in Tokyo? What kind of fortune do you want to wish for? The power spots in this article aren’t just a great experience of Japanese tradition and religion, they are also very beautiful places to visit during a stroll!

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I was born and raised in Kiel/Germany. When I was 16 I came to Japan for the first time. I fell in love with this beautiful country, so I returned after my university graduation. Since then, I have been living in Tokyo - and I don't plan to change anything about that ;-) My hobbies are taking a stroll around the city, taking photos and drinking coffee.

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