Source: Gaijin Pot
You’ll find them inside cars, on backpacks and packed in suitcases — but what are omamori? Equating to a talisman, amulet or charm, omamori are portable blessings said to contain divine power. These can be obtained at almost any shrine or temple in Japan, and although primarily purchased by Japanese people for specific purposes many foreigners find these to be wonderful souvenirs to bring home.
Stemming from Shinto and Buddhist beliefs when they were not separate, omamori come in many shapes, colors and sizes and are said to help you along in your daily life. Certain charms might be found in specific colors or shapes, but usually the same type can be found in a rainbow of colors to appeal to a variety of tastes. Some motifs and colors correspond to a specific temple’s history or aesthetics while others are universally recognizable as omamori with a specific purpose.
Photo by YU-JEN SHIH
You can buy it right at the temple or shrine.
Each written blessing is stored inside a baroque bag. It won’t bring bad luck but opening the omamori will release the blessing, taking its benefits with it. Remember, a little dirt will never hurt an omamori. This is actually a favorable sign that the omamori is working hard with you. It’s suggested that omamori are replaced yearly and, having served its purpose, the old omamori be returned to its origin where it can be burned in a ceremonial fire.
Along with being a blessing, the ornate charms also make for great souvenirs. They usually range in price from ¥300 to ¥1,000.
Common charms found at temples and shrines
These six type of omamori are very common ones that can be found at most shrine or temple visits.