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Feb 19, 2009

Tooka Ebisu Festival

Ebisu (戎) is the Japanese god of commerce. No surprise, then, that it is a popular figure in Osaka. An immediate consequence is that Tooka Ebisu (十日戎), the festival celebrating him, is one of the first highlights of the year in Kansai.
As you may have guessed from the name, the main events take place on January 10th. On my recent trip to Japan, I landed in Osaka the following day, but as the festival actually spans from January 9th to 11th, I was able to enjoy it. For those interested, some details are available on the Japan National Tourism Organization website.

As any proper Japanese festival, this one involves food! The way to the shrine is a succession of food stands, which each smells and looks better than the previous one.

Just before reaching the shrine, food is replaced on stands by ornaments featuring Ebisu himself.
These are bought and displayed in shops and offices, where they are supposed to bring good luck.

In the shrine itself, you pray, you draw written fortunes, but you also collect a piece of bamboo, which is also suppose to bring good fortunes, hence its name, 福笹 (fukusasa).
This is when trouble begins. The crowd you walked by when entering the shrine also walks out with bamboo, and the return trip can be tricky.

The shrine itself was so crowded that I did not take any pictures, so you should have a look at Kayo's post if you want to see some good ones.
I do have, however, a picture from the result of my visit: I got a lucky fortune! 大吉! ("excellent luck")

(the paper is almost see-through, hence the blurry aspect on this picture)

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