Zeniarai Benzaiten is said to provide financial blessings
Polytheistic Shinto teaches a concept of “Yaoyorozu no Kami,” which literally means eight million gods. Idiomatically, it expresses “an infinate number”. Under this concept, people believe that there are individual gods to grant their wishes, such as “the God of financial success” and “the God of love”.
Zeniarai Benzaiten in Kamakura City, Kanagawa prefecture, is a famous shrine where it is said that if you wash your money in the spring water from the cave of the precincts – “Zeniaraimizu” – the amount of money you have will multiply. “Zeniarai” means washing money in Japanese.
The shrine’s formal name is Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine. Its origins are unclear, but according to legend, it dates back to the year of 1185, when continuous natural disasters brought great poverty. Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first Shogun of Kamakura shogunate, built the shrine after a revelation in a dream told him “If you hold a memorial service for the Gods and Buddha with the spring water in the northwestern spiritual realm, the entire country will be at peace”.
People take out money from their wallet and wash it in ladeled, scared water. Why don’t you try washing the money from your own country, drying it, and taking it back home? In Japanese culture it is said the use of this money stimulates the economy, and many believe it brings prosperity. It is certain that the “blessings” of Zeniarai Benten will continue to provide you with good fortune after you journey home from Japan.
Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine
Address: 2-25-16, Sasuke, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Worshiping time: Visitors are free to engage in sightseeing in the precincts. (The amulet reception counter where visitors can purchase omamori (charms) is open for business from 8 AM to 4:30 PM.)
Access: Exit at JR – Enoshima Electric Railway “Kamakura Station West Exit” and walk about 30 minutes (2 km / 1.24 miles)
Mysterious omikuji tell fortunes with Kifune Jinja Shrine’s spring water!
Kifune Jinja Shrine in Kyoto City – known as the dwelling of the God of love – has a history that dates back approximately 1300 years. The shrine’s “Mizuura-mikuji” ritual is popular attraction for visitors. This omikuji is different from normal paper fortunes. When you first pull out the omikuji, it’s blank. Once you dip it in the “Goshinsui” spring waters from the sacred Kifune Mountain, the message appears!
Beginning this year, the historically significant Kifune Jinja Shrine in Kyoto has implemented a translation system for tourists who cannot read Japanese. This allows them to see the omikuji messages in their language.
If you read the QR code printed on the omikuji with a smart phone, translations will be displayed in English, Chinese, Taiwanese, or Korean. Cutting-edge smartphone technology has made it even easier to read the messages written on omikuji.
Kifune Jinja Shrine
Address: 180 Kifune-Cho, Kurama, Sakyo-Ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
Access: Nearest station: Exit at the Eizan Train “Kifuneguchi” station. Transfer to the Kyoto Bus and exit at “Kifune.” Walk for 5 minutes.
Wherever you go in Japan, there are countless shrines and temples. The two shrines introduced here are related to water, believed to have sacred spring waters that offer blessings. Japan is a land of great natural beauty. We encourage travelers to make the journey themselves while they ponder the beliefs of the nature-revering Japanese people.