The Seven Lucky Gods Pilgrimage is an annual event in Japan that takes place during the first 10 days of the year. Two great articles by fellow spouses and bloggers are below to teach you everything you could want to know.
After you get the back ground and information (the who and what) what’s next is the how, the when and the why.
Whether you decide to drive (which I did and do, walk or train) this is a trip you can EASILY do in one day. If you’re bringing small kids strollers are fine, but at the temples they’ll have to walk or be carried to go in and get to goshuin.
All of the temples have dedicated, free parking; either at the entrance or close to it. So don’t worry about that aspect. If choosing the train many temples are grouped together so you’ll end up simply walking from place to place before going on the train to get to the next area. In the car, with sporadic traffic and one snafu (went down a road that was too narrow) if took us about 2.5 hours.
While most of these shrines offer goshuin throughout the year, this board and pilgrimage are only available during the first ten days of the new year, so if you haven’t done hatsumode (the first shrine visit of the year) you can knock that out as well!!
Because it’s FUN! it gets you out of the house and around the prefecture. It allows you to interact with the locals, introduces you to Japanese culture and gives you a souvenir and memory to take back with you when you leave.
Now that I’ve done this two years in a row (I was given bad gouge 👀 there would be a new shikishi this year) I think I’ll do one of the other pilgrimages next year (Tokyo Shichifukujin ).
In addition to the shikishi and goshuin you can purchase a bamboo frond from which to hang your omamori. These are Japanese amulets that represent different deities and are said to provide luck or protection. You can get one at each shrine that you visit, they’re ~¥500. The goshuin at each location will cost ~¥200 or ¥300 depending on the temple or shrine and the shikishi, if you buy it, will cost ¥1000.
Come back and let me know how it went if you do it this year or if you’ve done it before!!