Notes to god, wishing for good fortune.
(click for a larger view)
These are 絵馬 ema, pronounced eh-mah. They are one of the good luck charms you can buy at any shrine in Japan. The front side will have some kind of picture, often the zodiac animal of the year but also sometimes a local landmark or something else, and the back side will be blank for you to write a wish on. After writing a really good wish that god is sure to grant, you then hang it here where it will remain until the elements destroy it.
Regardless of whether it really works or not, it is a fun thing to do, and the money for the ema helps the shrine pay for upkeep on the grounds and festival events.
I see three different zodiac animals here—rabbit, dragon, and snake—so we can tell these are from three different years. Pop quiz: without googling, does anyone know the zodiac animal for this year?
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Don't miss the other great photos in the Beautiful Japan photo series!
#1–10 — Beautiful Japan, Collection #1
#11–20 — Beautiful Japan, Collection #2
#21–30 — Beautiful Japan, Collection #3
#31–40 — Beautiful Japan, Collection #4
#41 — Cherry Blizzard
#42 — House in the Sky
#43 — Explosive Clouds
#44 — Angry Sky
#45 — Autumn Reflections
#46 — Bliss of the Blossoms
#47 — Flight of the Birds
#48 — Hiding in the Crowd
#49 — The Laughing Buddha
#50 — This Old House
#51 — Remember the Rice Fields Where We Once Played
#52 — Collecting God's Money
#53 — Rice is Done
#54 — Our Secret Place
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I post one photo everyday, as well as a haiku and as time allows, videos, more Japanese history, and so on. Let me know if there is anything about Japan you would like to know more about or would like to see.
|David LaSpina is an American photographer lost in Japan, trying to capture the beauty of this country one photo at a time.|