It is a traditional New Year custom in Japan to go to your favorite temple at the beginning of the year and pray for good luck. Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa is very popular with Tokyo residents and visitors. People will line up already in the evening of December 31 to be there when the new year begins at midnight.
At the temple most people will get an “omikuji” good luck fortune. Although omikuji are available throughout the year, they are especially popular during the New Year. At Sensoji-Temple, you can find them near the Main Hall after you pass the big Hozomon Gate with its three lanterns. One omikuji is 100 yen.
Here you shake a metal box full of sticks to draw your fortune. The stick that you draw shows the number of the omikuji of you. The small drawers are labeled with numbers. Look for the drawer with the corresponding number and see if you are lucky.
Senso-ji Temple’s omikuji have Japanese and English on them. They predict your overall fortune and offer advice for specific areas of life such as work, travel, and health.
The best fortune that you can draw is 大吉 dai-kichi, meaning great blessing. If you are lucky and draw a positive omikuji fold it up and put in your wallet. If you are unlucky and the omikuji that you draw is marked 凶 kyo, meaning curse, don’t take it with you. Fold it up into a long strip and tie it up. Good luck!