Especially at the beginning of the year, many people go on a small “pilgrimage” to visit the local shrines and temples of the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan. The lucky gods are called the Shichifukujin. It is a custom to visit the places where the deities are enshrined for good luck. Actually you can do the Shichifukujin Meguri circuit anytime of the year and spend an afternoon exploring the area around the shrines and temples that are home to the Shichifukujin.
In Tokyo’s Taito area there are many temples and shrines and three different Shichifukujin courses. You can visit the Lucky Gods in Yanaka, Asakusa, or Shitaya. The Shichifukujin are Ebisu, Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Daikokuten, Fukurokuju, Hotei, and Jurojin.
The Yanaka Shichifukujin course is the oldest course, open since the Edo period’s Houreki era (1751-1764). It includes Togaku-ji Temple, Seiun-ji Temple, Shusho-in Temple, Tenno-ji Temple, Choan-ji Temple, Gokoku-in Temple, and Shinobazu Benten-do. A walk to the Seven Lucky Gods here will take you to historic buildings, temples, and parks in the Yanaka and Ueno area.
The Asakusa Shichifukujin course has been popular since it opened in the late Edo period (1603-1868). Closed after World War II, it reopened in 1977. In Asakusa two places are included for the lucky gods Fukurokuju and Ebisu. So this course actually takes you to nine shrines and temples: Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa Shrine, Matsuchiyama Shoden, Imado Shrine, Hashiba Fudoson, Ishihama Shrine, Otori Shrine, Yoshiwara Shrine, and Yasaki Inari Shrine.
The Shitaya Shichifukujin course takes you to Juei-ji Temple, Tobifudo Shoboin, Benten-in, Hosho-ji Temple, Eishin-ji Temple, Iriya Kishimojin Temple, and Motomishima Shrine. Shobo-in Temple was founded in 1530 and is known as Tobifudo (Flying God). Tobifudo Shoboin is especially interesting for people who love to travel. Tobifudo has always been a protector of travelers and has also become the guardian of air travel. People now pray here for a safe journey and a safe flight. You can get an “omamori” lucky charm for safe travel and safe travel by air.