Nestled in Tokyo’s historic Asakusa district, the Shichifukujin Meguri invites you on a spiritual journey like no other. Explore revered temples and shrines dedicated to the Seven Lucky Gods, known as Shichifukujin. Embark on this sacred odyssey to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Japanese spirituality, history, and culture.

The whole journey took us about two hours and a half – and please note that the peculiarity is that you’ll visit nine temples and shrines instead of seven.

You can learn about the Seven Lucky Gods and the Shichifukujin Meguri we did in Yanaka at this link. And you’ll find last year Shichifukujin Meguri we did in Minato at this link.

sensoji elleofakind.com january 2024

1. Senso-ji Temple: Daikokuten

Begin your spiritual quest at the iconic Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most famous Buddhist temple. Dedicated to Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, Sensō-ji exudes an air of serenity amid the bustling Nakamise Shopping Street.

You’ll find the shikishi and your first stamp at the Yogodo Pavillion, nestled adjacent to the main hall of Senso-ji Temple, serving as the abode for Daikokuten. You’ll also be given a pamphlet with a map of the course.

As you approach, you are greeted by the tranquil ambiance that permeates the temple grounds. Devotees and curious explorers alike are invited to pay their respects and offer prayers for economic success, agricultural prosperity, and overall well-being.

asakusa shrine elleofakind.com january 2024

2. Asakusa Shrine: Ebisu

Adjacent to Senso-ji lies Asakusa Shrine, a hidden gem often overshadowed by its grand neighbor. Here, you’ll encounter the second deity, Ebisu, the god of fishermen and commerce. The shrine’s serene atmosphere offers a peaceful respite, allowing visitors to connect with the divine while surrounded by greenery. If you have time, go say hi to foxes at the nearby shrine too.

matsuchiyama shoden elleofakind.com january 2024

3. Matsuchiyama Shoden: Bishamonten

Continue your pilgrimage to Matsuchiyama Shoden, perched atop the modest elevation of Mt. Matsuchiyama, the lowest mountain in Tokyo, standing at a mere 10 meters in altitude. Legend has it that this distinctive mountain emerged abruptly in 535, accompanied by the appearance of a golden dragon, believed to be its guardian.

An intriguing facet of Matsuchiyama Shoden Temple lies in its ritual offerings: devotees present daikon radishes during worship. Visitors can purchase a daikon radish directly from the temple office for a nominal fee of 200 yen, or alternatively, bring their own to partake in this symbolic act of reverence. This melding of sacred tales and tangible traditions creates a memorable experience at Matsuchiyama Shoden Temple, offering a deeper connection to the spiritual and historical facets of this unique site.

imado shrine elleofakind.com january 2024

4. Imado Shrine: Fukurokuju

Imado Shrine is renowned as the birthplace of the iconic maneki-neko, or beckoning cat figurine, symbolizing good fortune and prosperity. A testament to the shrine’s rich history, these charming cat statues line the grounds, creating an enchanting ambiance. Adding a touch of whimsy to your Shichifukujin Meguri, Imado Shrine offers a unique opportunity to capture the essence of Japanese folklore and traditions.

When the shop lady learned I’m Italian, she started telling me about her trips to Italy!

You can read more in my post at this link.

hashiba fudoson elleofakind.com january 2024

5. Hashiba Fudoson: Hotei

Nestled in the border between the districts of Taito and Arakawa, Hashiba Fudoson Temple, belonging to the Tendai Sect, is revered as the “Temple of Firefighting” for its historical resilience against catastrophic blazes. Enshrining Fudo Myoo, the temple is a guardian of local heritage. Beyond fire protection, it houses revered deities like Yakushi Nyorai and Hotei, one of Asakusa’s Seven Lucky Gods, symbolizing joy and prosperity.

ishihama shrine elleofakind.com january 2024

6. Ishihama Shrine: Juroujin

Ishihama Shrine, with origins tracing back to the Nara period (724 AD), holds a rich history steeped in significance. Built by Emperor Shomu, the shrine gained prominence during the Kamakura period, notably when Minamoto no Yoritomo stopped to pray for victory on his way to the Battle of Oshu.

Later, Ishihama Shrine gained fame, becoming a preferred destination for the locals who found it challenging to reach the Ise Grand Shrine. Despite surviving World War II, various facilities, excluding the main shrine building, succumbed to fire damage. Post-war reconstruction efforts were undertaken, leading to the shrine’s relocation in 1988 AD as part of the Shirahige Nishi district redevelopment project in Arakawa Ward.

Ishihama Shrine, resilient in the face of challenges, continues to stand as a testament to Japan’s enduring cultural legacy, drawing visitors into its timeless narrative.

On the way to our next stop, an old lady riding a bicycle was really taken by the fact that we were doing the pilgrimage and gave us directions. Too sweet!

yoshiwara shrine elleofakind.com january 2024

7. Yoshiwara Shrine: Benzaiten

Yoshiwara Shrine beckons travelers with its cultural significance and tranquil ambiance. Built on the old red light district of Tokyo, the shrine holds a special correlation with Benzaiten, the revered Goddess of Music, Arts, and Wisdom. Yoshiwara Shrine serves as a sanctuary where visitors can seek blessings related to artistic endeavors, creativity, and intellectual pursuits. As you explore the intricate details of the shrine, take a moment to appreciate the serene connection between the sacred grounds and the benevolent Benzaiten, offering a unique glimpse into Japan’s spiritual and artistic heritage.

I definetely want to explore more of Yoshiwara (and its correlation with foxes!), so stay tuned for more! You can join the newsletter above to know when the post will be out!

otori shrine elleofakind.com january 2024

8. Otori Shrine: Juroujin

During the Edo period, Asakusa’s Otori Shrine gained popularity due to its convenient location and proximity to the largest legal red-light district, Shin-Yoshiwara Yukaku. On market day, the yukaku opened its gates, allowing people to freely explore, leading to a vibrant post-market atmosphere.

The shrine is also famous for its Tori-no-Ichi market, an annual festival held on Rooster Day every November. Originating in the Edo period, the market traces its roots to Hanahata Otori Shrine in Adachi, where Yamato Takeru celebrated victory after conquering the East part of Japan’s main island. Initially a harvest festival, Tori-no-Ichi became a fusion of local folklore and celebration.

A notable feature of the shrine is the Nade-Okame face statue, symbolizing Ame-no-Uzume, a goddess of performing arts. Stroking different parts of the face is believed to bring various benefits, adding a unique spiritual touch to the pilgrimage experience.

9. Yasaki Inari Shrine (Fukurokuju)

With a rich history dating back to the 17th century, Yasaki Inari Shrine in Asakusa has weathered centuries of challenges and emerged as a cultural gem. Initially built in 1642 by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, to guard the Edo Sanjusangendo, the shrine faced destruction during the Chokugaku Kaji fire in 1698.

Despite calamities, the shrine was resurrected in Asakusa after the fire and later rebuilt in 1960 following the devastation of World War II bombings. One of its notable features is the worship hall’s ceiling adorned with 100 horse riding motif paintings, depicting Japanese equestrian history from Emperor Jinmu to Colonel Takeichi Nishi during World War II. Crafted by Japanese painter Ebine Shundo in 1964, these paintings are now open to the public.

Legend has it that ten of these paintings might have been featured in the Hollywood movie “The Last Samurai”.

shichifukujin meguri asakusa elleofakind.com january 2024

Completing the shikishi

Yasaki Inari Shrine was our last stop, and we got an “Otsukaresama deshita!” from the lady at the goshuin shop. I also drew an omikuji and got a nakayoshi (yay!). We had a little stroll around Kappabashi dori, since we love different types of kitchenware. 😀