Lucy Charm Series – Omamori

In our previous article, we talked about several different types of lucky charms in Japanese temples and shrines. One of them is omamori, 御守 or お守り in Japanese.

The word mamori (守り) means protection, with omamori being the honorific form of the word, "to protect". Originally made from paper or wood, modern Japanese amulets available at temples or shrines are small brocade bags that may contain a prayer, religious scripture. Exceptions exist for sale at non religious affiliations.

While omamori are intended for personal use, they are also viewed as a donation to the temple or shrine so visitors often give omamori as a gift to another person to represent protection or good wish. In Japanese culture, it is also popular to put important personal items small enough inside the omamori to customize the wish or luck as you need.

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There are not only omamori that reserve god luck but also ones that prevent or avoid bad luck. Kōtsū-anzen is for traffic safety, yaku-yoke for avoidance of evil, kaiun for open luck, better fortune, gakugyō-jōju for education and passing examinations (students or scholars' favorite), shōbai-hanjō for prosperity in business-success, en-musubi for love and marriage, anzan for healthy pregnancy and easy delivery, etc.

From general to specific, derived from the shinto or Buddhism based culture, omamori is a must-know for understanding Japan

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