Updated on February 4, 2020
Inari Kio Shrine
Shichifukujin Meguri -- a pilgrimage to Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines dedicated to Shichifukujin, or the Seven Lucky Gods, to receive good fortune blessings. While many temples and shrines hold it within the first one to two weeks of the year as a New Year custom, in Shinjuku-ku, people can enjoy this auspicious event throughout the year.
There is no fixed starting point for the Seven Lucky Gods Walk, but here, we start from Inari Kio Shrine just off Higashi-Shinjuku Station. Ebisu, the patron deity of fishermen and tradesmen, is worshipped at the Inari Kio Shrine. Find a stone called kaeru-ishi on its grounds. It is touted as a wish-granting stone, which is said to answer the prayers of those who pour water onto it and rub it with their hand while chanting a wish-fulfilling mantra.
Go on to visit Eifukuji Temple, Itsukushima Shrine, and Hozenji Temple enshrining Fukurokuju (God of Happiness), Benzaiten (God of Fortune), and Jurojin (God of Health), respectively, and then Taisoji Temple near Shinjuku-Gyoen Station. Taisoji Temple deifies Hotei Osho or Priest Hotei as the guardian god for family happiness. Standing in the expansive grounds of the Taisoji Temple, you find it hard to believe that you’re in the heart of the city.
From here, proceed eastward to the next goal. At Kyooji Temple, hold a heavy magic mallet in your hands and shake it to make a wish to Daikokuten (God of Wealth). Finally, stop by Zenkokuji Temple facing the lively Kagurazaka-dori Street bustling with people. The god of commerce, luck at winning, and protection from evil, Bishamonten, is worshipped at the temple.
The Shinjuku Yamanote Shichifukujin Meguri takes only about two and a half hours on foot. The seven deities are worshipped in various forms at their respective temple or shrine, making the differences in atmosphere interesting to observe.
Start this year by braving the cold to step out for a walk. You may find yourself in luck.
<Shinjuku Yamanote Shichifukujin Meguri>
Chingozan Zenkokuji Temple
Phone: (from 9:00 to 17:00) (Assistance available in Japanese only)
Shichifukujin Meguri leaflets are available at the temples and shrines.
Photo courtesy of Shinjuku Convention & Visitors Bureau
Takarabune or the treasure ship carrying the Seven Lucky Gods can be completed by collecting the figurines at the temples and shrines