Protection against evils in Japanese way

13 May
samukawa-shrine1 It’s very common in Japan to get ourselves protected from evils once in several years. The act of protection is called “Yakuyoke” in Japanese and in fact, there are several “Yakuyoke” menus available.

Basically at the age of 25, 42, 61 for men, and 19, 33, 37 for wemen (both counting how many new years one has passed, and usually it’s just your age + 1) are regarded as high possibilities of evil things happening in one’s life, according to our wisdom in history. Besides that, at 1 year before and 1 year after Yakuyoke age, we are recommened to get something like pre-Yakuyoke and post-Yakuyoke. I wonder if this could be a good way to make shrines profitable, though… :p Yakuyoke is not a cheap event. It’s about at least 5000 yen (about US$50) per person. Anyway that was the Yakuyoke for specific ages. People also do Yakuyoke when they move to a new house, and I think this is similar to Feng Shui thoughts. (Our culture is influenced by China and Korea so much in its history.)

So the other day my hubby and I decided to go to Samukawa shrine (<= caution! It makes sounds!!) to wade off evil. This was not always because of the age but because I was highly recommended by my fortune-teller who I see once in 3 years or so. You may say it’s ridiculous to pay for such, as fortune-telling is just a sort of superstition, but I do because what she predicted 3.5 years ago are now happening to me! Do you know what’s that? It was TO WRITE IN A WEB AND IN ENGLISH!!

At that time I was engaged in house renovation job by myself (free launce) and I enjoyed it. At the same time, I was also a spot writer (in Japanese) to some interior or real estate periodicals and websites. I was quite satisfied with my job but I was told I would write, not on the paper or the book, but on the web, and not in Japanese but in English! You might think I acted as she said. But no. I was rather shocked to hear that and had a strong question WHY I SHOULD WRITE IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE AND TO THE WEB!? as I am totally so bad at technical things. (still now, so I owe much to my friend for this site…hehe ^^;) I was kind of person who want to keep away from computer as much as possible. House renovation job needed CAD work by VectorWorks software, but I could also spend much time at construction sites, showroom, client’s house, and somewhere being away from computer. :p So I never thought I would do what I’m doing now at that time. I didn’t care about what she said to me since then, but as it turned out, I am in fact doing what she predicted! ๐Ÿ™„ Well it’s getting out of the topic itself, so please refer to my old blog for what I got from Samukawa shrine.


15 Responses to “Protection against evils in Japanese way”

  1. Dutchie May 13, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    My family r christians, so I dont come into contact much abt supersitious beliefs. When we r in need of comfort during sickness or troubled times, we confide them in our pastors who would pray with us n soothed our minds.

    Life changes after my brothers n sisters were married. They all adopted other religious beliefs – buddhism is one of them. It made my mom quite sad actually bec our way of life was changed completely.

    My hubby is a free-thinker, so I’m not wrapped up in cumbersome rituals n rites which comes from embracing a belief. Given time, I realised that the best way to solve any “problems” is to do it myself, with the help of sound knowledge n from life experiences. This is my 2 cent’s worth. Hope I havent offended any reader with a different view.

  2. Lisa May 13, 2009 at 9:05 pm #

    I have always wanted to go to a fortune teller… I wanted to try in Japan but I realised my Japanese wasn’t good enough or they spoke no English. Too bad! Next time I will definitely go, even if I have to take a friend with me to help translate! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Although… your fortune teller sounds very accurate! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I’m not 100% sure I believe such things, but at the same time I kind of do, haha… >.<
    Thank you for the Yokuyaku info too, this was completely new for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. kirin May 15, 2009 at 12:46 pm #


    Actually most of Japanese people are free from religions. This article may have given you the impression that I am Buddhism, but in fact I’m free.

    My fortune teller used tarot cards, read my aura, but recommended that I shold go to a shrine not a church. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Many Japanese people use church as a place to hold a wedding ceremony (although we’ve never been to church on Sundays and never read the Bible) and a funeral is held in Japanese way following Shintoism, at most of the cases. This would sound so strange and is hard to be undestood, I guess. But that’s part of Japan as it is.


    Yakuyoke is a very Japanese custom, and I can hardly imagine foreigners who live or visit in Japan would do this. (I’ve never seen foreigners attending to the Yakuyoke with me in my experience so far.) But if you do that, it’ll be fresh experience to you, although it’s not cheap. ๐Ÿ˜›

    There are many ways of fortune telling. Some read palm, some read face, some read name (Kanji. how many strokes and combination of strokes) and so on.

    I do not believe such things 100%, either. But I’ll see how things turn out in next 3 years and I’ll find if she was right or not. I mean this time I was told other “?!(@_@)?!” things. ๐Ÿ™„

  4. sixmats May 15, 2009 at 10:48 pm #

    I really like that last picture.

    And you’re right, I’m a foreigner in Japan and I haven’t done it … yet.

  5. Veronica May 16, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    Wow, how fascinating!

    My friends made a mock shrine for their Japanese university festival in Boston and had me pick omikuji (My sister’s fortune was luckier than mine, haha)


  6. Walter May 16, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    Mmm… I can’t recall anything bad happening to me at the age of 25 or now at 42 and 61 is still a long way off ๐Ÿ™‚
    So basically once I get past that one , I’m safe from evil ??
    It’s so unfair that the final hurdle for women is at 37 ๐Ÿ‘ฟ โ— .

  7. kirin May 16, 2009 at 11:54 pm #


    Thank you. (*^^*) It’s just a photo that I took with my mobile camera, though…


    Oh, you’ve tried Omikuji? Even if you picked out the worst one, for example, you don’t have to worry about that and just tie it to a tree in the shrine so that you can leave evil things there and do not go back home. Lucky ones like yours or your sister’s can be kept in a wallet or something until next time. That’s how Japanese people cope with Omikuji (paper fortune). ๐Ÿ˜‰


    I have no idea either if the age things are true or not. That’s why there are, I guess, certain people who totally ignore Yakuyoke, just like my father. He’s a chemist and he does not believe things that cannot be demonstrated by math or science. I’m however totally opposite to him who like to pay attention to some spiritual things. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Prometheus May 18, 2009 at 12:31 am #

    I was wondering if you believed in ghosts. Do you think they are walking around with us and only some people can see them?

    • kirin May 19, 2009 at 10:51 am #

      YES, I do believe in ghosts and spiritual things although I cannot see them. You don't, do you? :p

  9. kelly May 21, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    do many people in japan pray ? i apologize for not having a better example….. but i have seen many pictures of survivors of the recent earth quake and tsunami praying, but i didnt think japanese people prayed to god like some one who follows christianity would.

    i hope you dont mind me asking about this.

    • kirin May 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      It's OK to ask me in that way. If you ask Japanese people if we have religion, most of us may say either NO or Buddhism or Shinto. Well I think most would say NO, but we basically believe in sort of God, without specific name or religion. It's very difficult to explain this, but I'm trying to. OK, I have no religion but I visit temples like this. I pray but when I do I have no specific name of God whether it's Buddha or Jesus Christ or whoever. I think God is like universe and it's everywhere. So putting hands together (like palm on palm) and purely pray for anything. Sometimes we do the same way to thank for the food before we start each meal.

      This is my thought, but every Japanese people have God in our heart even if we have no specific religion. That's why we can pray for others.

      Sorry if my explanation is not clear. But that's how I feel as Japanese.

      • kelly May 21, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

        that makes sense. thank you for taking the time to explain this to me, it helped me to understand more ^_^

      • kirin May 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

        It's my pleasure. Thank you for asking. It was an interesting question to me.

      • Mary August 10, 2011 at 4:38 am #

        Ah, I had that question too! I know some people don't like to discuss their personal beliefs though, so I was too shy to ask. ^^

      • kirin August 10, 2011 at 7:27 am #

        Oh it's no problem. If I don't feel like mentioning because it's too personal, I'll tell you in nice way. So never mind asking me from next time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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