Omikuji is a paper with random fortunes written on it. Kind of like the fortune cookies we have in the states, but there is a catch! There are good ones, and there are also bad ones. Omikuji gives me such an adrenaline rush when I open it, because you never know what kind of fortune you might get. My hands would be slightly shaking as I opened the Omikuji, and then I would either light up with a “YES” in my heart or “OMG…. x_X ” sad face. (Photo Right: Omikuji)
Shinjuku has a small Shinto Shrine not far from the shopping malls area.If you do not have time or do not want to leave, Hanasono Jinjya is only about a 8 minute walk from the station.
Hanasono Shrine means “Flower Garden.” It is smaller yet quite charming if you compare it to other larger Shrines that tourist groups usually goes to visit. Right now it is probably under maintenance because I saw a lot of construction materials onsite. They hosts many festivities throughout the year, and also a public prayer on 12/31 for the New Years. For people who love antiques, there is an antique market on site during Sundays, mostly selling old paintings, posters, kimonos, and masks.
To get an Omikuji, you first make an offering about 100 yen or as much as you want, then either there is a machine that will randomly dispense one to you, or you have to shake a wooden box till a wooden stick comes out with a number on it, then give it to the priestess to exchange for the real paper.
It is probably fun and all to some, but for me Omikuji taught me quite a lesson.
On this trip while visiting another Shrine, somehow I missed the rinsing area (for purifying hands and mouth) when I first entered. I was all happy and bubbly, bouncing my way to the shrine altar, threw my coin into the wooden box, and went to ask for an Omikuji. I opened my Omikuji….and there I gasped with wide eyes. It was a bad one with stuff like “The person you wait for will not come” “Do not travel”…..etc etc. My heart sank hard. I felt like I lost a lottery.
I went to tie the Omikuji paper on the straw strings connected to 2 sacred trees (in Japan it means to leave your bad luck behind), and pray to the Shrine. This time I pray that please let me get a better Omikuji. I insert money into the Omikuji machine, and my face lit up with a smile as I opened it =) Just as I turned around facing the streets getting ready to walk out, I saw the rinsing area for hands and mouth, and I realized
“Oh S**t….I did not rinse my hands and mouth before I entered.”
No wonder I got a not so good Omikuji in the first place…
I quickly went to rinse my hands and mouth, and came back to the altar to pray again: this time to apologize.
Call me superstitious if you want, but I don’t think I will forget to rinse my hands and mouth before entering a Shrine again! >_<
Map (From Shinjuku Station to Hanasono Jinjya):