A common aspect of many Shinto shrines is fortune telling. Pieces of paper called omikuji are drawn randomly and contain quite complex predictions in regards to luck, health, and so forth. To ensure the good luck and dispel the bad luck, the omikuji is then tied to a tree branch or special bars of wood after the fortune has been read. In the picture above with the fox, you can see on the left where many omikuji have been tied.

Masako had to help me read mine. I was very lucky in that my overall fortune spoke of "daikichi" - "great good luck".

Here's what it looked like:

We then offered prayers and went to tie our fortunes on the sticks.

To the side of the shrine were smaller stone shrines:

And then at the front on the steps before the entrance to the shrine, we had much fun with a silly thing - a cut-out form of a "shrine maiden" that you stood behind and had your picture taken.

Here's the overall view which allows you to see this standing in front:

And of course who had to pretend to be the shrine maiden??!!

Masako and Yuri thought this was very, very, VERY funny and could not stop laughing! I think there must be an inside Japanese joke to all this that I didn't quite understand, but their amusement was catching and we were soon all laughing very hard. Indeed, this is one of my best memories of Kumamoto - how much the three of us laughed together during our time there.

Edited by torey (29/01/11 07:04 PM)