3rd January 2017: Seven Lucky Gods, and a ship, Pilgrimage {Japan, winter 16/17}

As part of the shrine and temple visiting on the first days of the year there is the chance to do a “small” peregrination around several of them for luck – the whole thing is called the Shichifukujin Meguri [七福神 めぐり]. Together with D****e and Sh-san I set off to visit the Seven Lucky Gods of Minato-ku in their respective shrines and temples. Oh, and their ship.

The Seven Gods of Fortune or the Seven Lucky Gods, Shichifukujin [七福神, ] are a group of deities from different origin (India, China, and Japan itself). It is said that on New Year’s Eve the seven gods touch port in their treasure ship Takarabune [宝船] to bestow happiness to humans. The Seven are worshipped in a group, and there are a few temples that enshrine all ofthem together. However, in Minato-ku the Gods and their ship are scattered amongst a seven shrines and one temple. Visiting the Seven Gods of luck will bring you luck for the year (you can read all about the Seven Lucky Gods over at Buddhism & Shintōism In Japan A-To-Z Photo Dictionary Of Japanese Religious Sculpture & Art).

The Gods and Shrines/Temples in the order we visited them are:

  1. Benzaiten at Honjō-in [本成院]. Benzaiten [弁才天 / 弁財天] is the Goddess of the Arts and her virtue is Amiability. She is originally from India.

  2. Ebisu at Kumano Jinja [熊野神社]. Ebisu [恵比寿] is the God of the Ocean and his virtue is Fairness. He is originally from Japan.

  3. The Takarabume [十番稲荷神社] at Juban Inari Jinja. The ship carries all the attributes belonging to the Gods, and it is where they come to bring happiness.

  4. Daikokuten at Daioji [大雄寺]. Daikokuten [大黒天] is the god of the Earth and his vortue is Fortune. He originated in India.

  5. Bishamonten at Hikawa Jinja [氷川神社]. Bishamonten [毘沙門天] is the God of Treasure, and his virtue is Dignity. He comes from India.

  6. Jurōjin at Sakurada Jinja [櫻田神社]. Jurōjin [寿老人] is the god of Wisdom and his virtue is Longevity. Originally, he comes from China.

  7. Fukurokuju at Tenso Jinja [天祖神社]. Fukurokuju [福禄寿] is the god of Wealth and his virtue is Popularity. He originally comes from China.

  8. Hotei at Hisakuni Jinja [久國神社]. Hotei [布袋] is the God of Contentment and his virtue is Magnanimity.

In-between the gods, we had lunch at a very good yakiniku place in Roppongi [六本木].