Among the many Japanese rites of the beginning of the year, such as the Hatsumode, the first visit of the year to the Shrine to pray for luck in the new year, there is also the Shichifujukin Meguri, or the pilgrimage of the 7 lucky gods. This pilgrimage is usually done in the first seven days of the year and the temples of the circuit are all within a short distance, thus allowing you to complete the pilgrimage in half a day.

Although the Schichifukujin Meguri is a propitiatory rite for the beginning of the year, several pilgrimages, especially those that include major temples, such as the 7 lucky gods pilgrimage in Asakusa (Tokyo), remain active throughout the year. Being more than a religious rite, a propitiatory rite linked to luck, the Schichifukujin Meguri is open to everyone, including tourists.

Shichifukujin – the 7 lucky gods

The shichifukujin, or 7 gods of fortune, actually come from different religions and countries, are often represented on a boat and were originally worshiped by merchants.

The temples and shrines dedicated to them are almost everywhere and it is custom to go around to pray all seven, especially during the first week of the year. In Tokyo, you can choose from more than eight different pilgrimages and it can be an interesting experience for those who, like myself, want to collect the particular stamp.

Among the 7 gods of fortune, the only Japanese deity is Ebisu, god of fishermen, traders and farmers, and is prayed for good luck in business. Daikokuten hails from India and is the god of wealth. Also of Hindu origins Bishamonten, the warrior who brings courage and dignity. Benzaiten is the only woman in the group and although she too has Hindu origins, she is one of the most revered deities in Japanese shrines. She is the protector of the arts and beauty, for this reason she is especially loved by artists and musicians. From Taoism instead we have the elder Fukurokujo with the long head, which contains the given knowledge of longevity. Elder and Taoist also Jurouijn, god of long life and happiness. The last deity is Hotei, also from China, who is the bringer of happiness.

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