Omamuri, Japan.

Know Your Omamori for the New Year!

Japanese amulets.

Shōgatsu or the New Year is probably Japan’s most important holiday with many Japanese businesses staying closed for the duration of the event.

Japanese amulets. | Danny Choo

This gives people the chance to celebrate and spend time with their families and friends.

The Japanese culture is uniquely ties to superstitious beliefs with most of the folklore having roots that can be traced to local customs. Many of the beliefs and are meant to offer practical advice from lessons learned throughout Japan’s long history. One of the timeless Japanese traditions is hatsumōde, the first trip to a shrine or temple during the New Year, drawing thousands of visitors during this time.

Omamuri, Japan.

Superstion, lucky charms (engimono), and omamori (amulets) go hand in hand. These are commonly sold at many of the Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples all around the country.

Omamuri, Japan. | Leng Cheng

Engimono are lucky charms often given out at New Year events at temples and shrines all around Japan. These lucky charms offer wishes for good luck in harvest, business, health, love, and the like. Omamori are amulets dedicated to a particular Shinto kami and Buddhist figures and are said to give different forms of luck or protection.

Mamori means protection and omanmori is the honorific form of the word “to protect”/ The amulets are usually small items that can fit inside a brocade bag and may contain a prayer, religious inscription of invocation. Omanmori are made sacred by rituals and are said to have spiritual offshoots (busshin) for Shinto kinds and manifestations (kesshin) for Buddhists.

Some common examples of omanmori:

Japanese amulets.

Japanese amulets. | Timothy Takemoto

Yakuyoke – to ward off evil or bad fortune.

Kaiun – good fortune; “good luck”.

Katsumori – for success; to win at something.

Shiawase – for happiness; to help achieve happiness.

Kotsu-anzen – protection for drivers and travelers in vehicles.

Byoki-heyu – “get well soon”.

Kenko – for good health.

Anzan – for a safe and easy pregnancy and childbirth.

Kanai-anzen – safety and well-being of your family.

Gakugyo-joju – for success in studies, passing exams.

Shobai-hanjo – success in business and financial matters; career growth.

En-musubi – to find love.