Release | Yuki Konishi
Local fortune slips “Ezo Mikuji” is limited in Hokkaido - from Hokkaido and first in Japan!
Why don’t you try to draw an omikuji (lucky fortune) to make your journey in Hokkaido a more delightful one? Hokkaido’s local omikuji “Ezo Mikuji” is catching attention. There is the total of six kinds. How is it like?
Table of Contents- What is local omikuji (fortune slips) “Ezo Mikuji”?
- Ikasu Mikuji / Yukura Shrine (Hakodate City)
- Fukuzanmai Mikuji / Konpira Shrine (Nemuro City)
- Tomimorokoshi Mikuji / Biei Shrine (Biei-Cho)
- Mashakefukumasu Mikuji / Obihiro Shrine (Obihiro City)
- Kaiun! Ippatsunenki Mikuji / Tarumaesan Shrine (Tomakomai City)
- Ikanimoii Mikuji / Hokumon Shrine (Wakkani City)
What is local omikuji (fortune slips) “Ezo Mikuji”?
Ezo Mikuji is an idea came up from six young priests in Hokkaido. The fortune slips are intended to appeal attractions of the region, make local people and travelers happy, and to vitalize Hokkaido.
By the way, it is the first example of local omikuji to be created with a collaboration between multiple shrines in all Japan.
The definite characteristic of Ezo Mikuji is a small original papier‐mâché comes with an omikuji.
Those papier-mâché use local specialties as motifs. Each mikuji plays on words to put lucky words, which is another unique point.
Each six shrine has own Ezo Mikuji, and there is the total of six kinds. The “Hatsuho-ryo”, the money offered to Shrine is 300 yen each.
The way to pick a fortune slip is also interesting. Some of them use a fishing rod to pick up, and others use radio-controlled forklift! People can catch & harvest omikuji. How fun!
The content of omikuji is written in Hokkaido dialect. Of course, the lucky places and lucky items written in omikuji are often related to Hokkaido.
For example, the lucky Hokkaido specialty for “Good Fortune (吉)” was “thick cut open and dried atka mackerel!”
Fun to pick, fun to read, and it can be a memory of the journey or a souvenir. Ezo Mikuji is gaining attention recently.
Ok, let’s take a look at details of Ezo Mikuji.
Ikasu Mikuji / Yukura Shrine (Hakodate City)
Hakodate is known as a “squid town”. The Hakodate way to have fresh, transparent, chewy squids is to mix with grated radish, ginger, soy sauce, and put on freshly cooked rice.
▲You will use a fishing rod made of bamboo to pick a fortune.
Well, if the shrine is in Hakodate, the motif of papier‐mâché must be a squid! There are two color variations of Ikasu Mikuji: white and gold.
▲The enshrined deity is Oonamuchi no kami (=Daikoku-sama) and Sukunahikona no kami.
“Yukura Shrine” is also the origin of “Yunokawa Onsen”. A woodcutter found the spring and his illness healed after he took the baths for medical purposes. He built a small shrine to thank the spring, and it was the beginning of Yunokawa Onsen.
There are lots of things to see in the shrine, such as the monument of the origin of Yunokawa Onsen, sacred rabbit (Nadeusagi Shinto), and good luck gavel (Kaiun Kozuchi). You can feel the history of Yunokawa Onsen in the sacred atmosphere.
Address / 1-28 2-chome Yunokawa-cho Hakodate city Hokkaido
Phone / 0138-57-8282
Access / About 30 minutes from tram Hakodate-Ekimae station
Fukuzanmai Mikuji / Konpira Shrine (Nemuro City)
They chose saury for the motif because Port of Hanasaki in Nemuro has the largest volume of saury catch in Japan and saury in Japanese “Sanma” has the similar sound as “Zanmai” (having a lot of amounts).
▲You will pick up a fortune slip with a fishing rod from a polystyrene box with blue cooler sheet.
They told me the story they could not say until today. When they were prototyping papier‐mâché, it did not look saury at all; it totally looked like a capelin. They had to do a lot of work to create the shape as it is now.
▲The enshrined deity is Oomononushi (=Daikoku-sama), Kotoshironushi (=Ebisu-sama), and Ukanomitama no kami (=Oinari-sama)
The shrine was founded in 1806, and it is said, by Kahei Takataya, the pioneer of North Pacific fishery.
There is a “Mikoshiden and Festivals Museum” built in the office, and it’s free entry. They exhibit the real Omikoshi (portable shrine) used in “Nemuro Konpira Shrine Reitai-sai Festival” (held on August 9 to 11 every year), and pictures and posters of the festival.
<Nemuro Konpira Shrine>
Address / Hokkaido, Nemuro-shi, Kotohiracho, 1 Chome−4
Phone / 0153-23-4458
Access / About 7 minutes drive from JR Nemuro Station
Tomimorokoshi Mikuji / Biei Shrine (Biei-Cho)
The hill city Biei is famous for delicious crops. As they can harvest many kinds of vegetables, they thought of potatoes, asparagus, etc., but they decided to make fortune slips with corns!
▲“Harvest” with a radio-controlled forklift. It’s popular as it feels like an arcade game.
Corns are also called “Morokoshi” in Hokkaido, and corns, like rice, has the meaning of “10 thousand in one piece”. Therefore, they named “Tomimorokoshi Mikuji” (Tomi=richness, morokoshi=corns) to wish many money lucks come with the fortune slip.
▲The enshrined deity is Izanagi no kami and Izanami no kami.
Shiro Kinoshita, who settled in Hokkaido from Wakayama Prefecture, got the division of Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine’s deity and re-enshrined here in 1896. It is said this was the beginning of Biei Shrine.
The shrine is popular as a spiritual place with a power to get fulfillment in love, as there is a heart-shaped decoration under the sign of the main shrine. They hold annual Nachi Biei Fire Festival in July which imitates “Nachi Fire Festival”.
Address / Hokkaido, Kamikawa-gun, Biei-cho, Higashimachi, 4 Chome−1−1
Phone / 0166-92-1891
Access / About 10 minutes by car or bus from JR Biei Station
Related website / http://www.hokkaidojinjacho.jp/data/06/06017.html
Masakefukumasu Mikuji / Obihiro Shrine (Obihiro City)
Tokachi Region, where Obihiro City is located, has a strong impression of farming. However, they are quite prosperous from fishery as well, especially along the coastline. They have the large volume of salmon catch, and as it is necessary for daily lives in Obihiro, they used fatty seasonal salmon as a motif.
▲People can pick the Masakefukumasu Mikuji with a fishing rod made with bamboo from a wooden box which imitates the legendary “Toro Box” used from a long time ago in markets, etc. This setting is very popular.
Masu (trouts) can be caught like salmon, so “Masakefukumasu” came from the message to “avoid bad luck (ma wo sakeru) and increase good luck (fuku wo masu).”
They put lots of works to small parts such as prints, colors, and shape. They put the paper in the tummy of salmon so that people can imagine soft roe and ikura (salmon roe)!
▲The enshrined deity is Ookunitama no kami, Oonamuchi no kami, and Sukunahikona no kami.
The shrine was founded in 1910 when they got the division from Sapporo Shrine (now Hokkaido Shrine) and re-enshrined here. Wild Ezo squirrel and wild birds live in the 10,000 square meters vast shrine with lots of trees. People often encounter wild animals here.
They have various gifts such as Goshuin-cho (stamp book) with snowflakes and an adorable wild bird long-tailed tit print, a heart-shaped wooden picture tablet inspired by leaves of their sacred tree Katsura for match-making, wooden picture tablet appeared in the comic book “Silver Spoon”, and a very rare jet-black charm “Daijobu Mamori”, etc.
Address / Hokkaido, Obihiro-shi, Higashi 3 Jominami, 2 Chome−1
Phone / 0155-23-3955
Access / About 6 minutes drive from JR Obihiro Station
Kaiun! Ippatsunenki Mikuji / Tarumaesan Shrine (Tomakomai City)
Tomakomai is famous for surf clam as it has the largest volume of catching in Japan. They could quickly decide the motif. They put the paper in between shells of a surf clam.
▲You will catch (draw) the fortune slip by using your hand.
The name “Kaiun” comes from kai (clams) carry un (luck) and “Ippatsunenki” is from hokki (surf clam). Wow, the name has been thought well!
▲The enshrined deity is Ooyamatsumi no kami, Kukunochi no kami, and Kayanohime no kami.
Worshipping to Mt. Tarumae, the sacred mountain, is old and the shrine started as a small shrine at the foot of the mountain. After that, the shrine moved to the center of the city by order from Meiji Emperor.
The shrine has beautiful trees of cherry blossoms, azalea, rosebay, red and white plums. You can get the view of Hidaka Mountain Range from the shrine if the weather is clear. The place becomes very lively with over 200 stalls during Reitai-Sai Festival in July.
Address / Hokkaido, Tomakomai-shi, Takaoka, 6-49
Phone / 0144-36-6661
Access / About 5 minutes drive from JR Tomakomai Station
Ikanimoii Mikuji / Hokumon Shrine (Wakkani City)
The northernmost shrine “Hokumon Shrine” uses hair crab as the motif. They were the last of the six shrines to start offering the fortune slips. Their Ezo Mikuji became available from January 2018.
▲You will pick up “Ikanimoii Mikuji” with a net.
Wakkanai is famous for seafood. They also thought of octopus for the motif. The actual papier‐mâché turned out very much different from the designs at first, so they had to brush up many times until it turned out to the cute round shape now.
▲The enshrined deity is Amaterasusumeoomi kami, Takemikazuchi no kami, and Kotoshironushi no kami (=Ebisu-sama).
They have a long history. It is said that it began with a small shrine called “Soya Daijingu”, the guardian god to protect the North Gate in 1785, the next year of the start of Hokkaido’s cultivation.
The guardian dogs holding children, which is rare throughout Japan, protect the sanctuary of Hokumon Shrine. There is a story that worshippers who stroked the guardian dogs got pregnant. Their “pregnancy charm” with the design of the guardian god is very popular, too.
Address / Hokkaido, Wakkanai-shi, Chuo, 1 Chome−1−21
Phone / 0162-22-2944
Access / About 5 minutes drive from JR Wakkanai Station
Related website / http://www.hokkaidojinjacho.jp/data/08/08001.html
It is said that those who completed all six Ezo Mikuji will catch great luck!
Visit each region, visit each shrine, pick up Ezo Mikuji, and enjoy local specialties used for motifs. Why don’t you enjoy the journey starting from Ezo Mikuji?
Hokkaido Likers writer Yuki Konishi
Photo / Hokkaido Likers photo writer Minako Takada
Photo cooperation / Yukura Shrine, Konpira Shrine, Biei Shrine, Obihiro Shrine, Tarumaesan Shrine, Hokumon Shrine