Leaving Bad Luck Behind You – Shinto Style

Most Shinto shrines in Japan offer visitors the chance to receive a fortune (o-mikuji), either free of charge or (more commonly) for a nominal donation or fee.

Unlike Western “fortunes,” the fortune slips at Shinto shrines sometimes foretell negative futures as well as positive ones. Traditionally, worshippers tie these negative fortunes to a pine tree or rack of wires at the shrine, set up for this purpose. According to Shinto belief, a negative o-mikuji tied to a tree or wires will remain at the shrine and not follow the worshipper home — meaning it won’t come true.

16F26 FI Shrine fortunes

The o-mikuji rack above is located at Fushimi Inari Taisha, south of Kyoto.