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Differences between Temple and Shrine Good Luck Charms

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Are you familiar with the differences between omamori (good luck charms) sold at temples and shrines? These charms are said to be infused with the power of deities to bring you luck. Let's learn more by looking at amulets sold at Sensoji Temple and Asakusa Shrine.

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It's common for people visiting temples to buy omamori charms. These charms are said to be infused with the power of the gods to bring you luck. There are different types of amulets, including prosperity and protection against misfortunes. Depending on the deities, the divine favors each charm carries will vary.

Did you know that there’s a difference between charms from Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines? Let’s take a look at Asakusa Shrine and Sensoji Temple to uncover the secrets behind this question.

Temple Charms at Sensoji Temple

Differences between Temple and Shrine Good Luck Charms

Photo by Pixta
Boasting a 1,400-year-old history, Sensoji Temple is known for its statue of Kannon Bodhisattva, the Goddess of Mercy.

In the display case, you will see charms for traffic prevention and academic success. Amulets are typically sold in small bags, but there are also unique amulets to Sensoji Temple, such as the Silver Charm.

There is also a lotus-shaped omamori with the image of the Kannon Bodhisattva, literally called the Lotus Charm. These come directly from the temple and have had sutras chanted and incense burned over them, a ceremony known as “the gift of prayer.”

In addition to charms, hand-copied sutras are also sold alongside images of the Kannon. Since temples are where monks live and learn Buddhist doctrines, these hand-copied sutras are considered to be a part of their studies.

Shrine Charms at Asakusa Shrine

Shrines can be found across Japan and are places where gods are believed to live. Asakusa Shrine, located near Sensoji Temple, is where three gods are said to be enshrined. This sacred site is also called Sanja-sama or Shrine of the Three Gods because of these deities, known for providing divine assistance to earnest prayers.

Asakusa Shrine

The shrine has English translations for all of the charms in their displays. Therefore, overseas visitors can confidently buy a good luck charm that suits their needs.

There’s one that sticks out among the charms called "Don’t worry. Everything will be okay." This simple yet reassuring message has gained attention online as well as in the shrine. These amulets are created by performing rituals over them and only work when carried by your side at all times.

Above are amulets for longevity, good fortune, and good luck. These adorably round charms are popular among many visitors. Moreover, it's advised that charms purchased at Shinto shrines should be replaced to retain purity when they become unclean or old.

Additionally, you can get a paper charm known as Mishio ("salt for the gods"). In Shinto, it is believed that salt has the power to cleanse the mind and body of negative thoughts and spirits. Therefore, these envelopes contain purifying salt that has been sprinkled at festivals and sumo competitions since ancient times.

Differences between Temple and Shrine Good Luck Charms

Photo by Pixta
So, these are the main differences between charms from temples and shrines. It may be hard to tell the difference from appearance alone, but the religions reflected in these eye-catching amulets do vary. If you’re planning to visit a temple or shrine, stop by the charm display and snag a good luck charm of your own.

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