What would a visit to the shrine or temple be without omikuji!
Together with ema and omamori, these little fortune telling papers are an essential part of any temple or shrine.
Said to date back over 1000 years, this tradition of obtaining a divine opinion on any earthly matters, such as choosing a successor or suitable marriage partner, has evolved into a more light-hearted affair that sometimes can even result in a "tug-of-draw" of who will get the "Great fortune".
Omikuji are typically drawn by shaking a box containing wooden sticks and then turning it to release a single stick, marked with a specific number. The actual omikuji is then taken from a drawer marked with the number corresponding with the one on the stick.
Depending on whether you draw a fortunate omikuji or a not so fortunate one, you either keep the little slip of fortune paper to make sure your newly acquired luck stays with you, or you tie it onto one of the poles or lines nearby, to leave the bad luck behind.
You've done all this before and have already an impressive collection of great omikuji? Good for you! But have you ever tried a magical omikuji that miraculously reveals your fortune once it floats on water? No? Let me tell you about it!
Having had my own fair share of omikuji experiences, I was a bit surprised to see my friend get very excited at the prospect of drawing some fortune papers at the shrine in Kifune, just outside Kyoto. I was stunned even more when she revealed her omikuji and it was blank! It seemed like someone had forgotten to fill in the columns!
No, the shrine did not dupe us, this mizuura-mikuji is unique to Kifune Shrine, where the god of water is worshipped. So what to do to reveal your divine advice? Let the god of water be of help to you and gently place the paper onto the nearby pond to let it float for a bit. The water will make the writing appear magically!
If you want to try out some water magic omikuji yourself, make sure to pay Kifune Shrine a visit and see if the water god has some good luck for you!