The Kyoto Ebisu Shrine is located in Yamato-ooji Douri, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto prefecture.
The shrine honors the gods Yaekotoshironushi-no-ookami, Ookuninushi-ookami and Sukunahikona-no-kami.
It was reportedly built at the current location in 1202 by Yousai, the founder of the Rinzai Zen School and it was intended as a guardian shrine to protect Kennin-ji, the oldest Zen temple.
The shrine is one of the Three Greatest Ebisu Shrines in Japan which are thought to bring prosperity in business. The shrine is commonly called “Ebe-ssan”.
Bamboo is a symbol of the Ebisu beliefs and visitors receive amulets and lucky charms with bamboo motifs. The association with bamboo began at the Kyoto Ebisu Shrine and it spread to other Ebisu shrines. Bamboo grows straight and upright. It also has an elastic trunk and it does not break easily. Moreover, bamboo leaves do not change color or fall off the stem. The leaves remain fresh and green all year round. These characteristics made bamboo the symbol of family prosperity and success in business.
The Ebisu Festival, held every January 8th through 12th, is a busy and lively event filled with visitors who celebrate until well after midnight.
The Kyoto Ebisu Shrine is, along with the principles of the Ebisu beliefs and the Seven Lucky Gods, well rooted in the hearts of and loved by the local people.
Nishinomiya Shrine stands in the middle of Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture, in the part of the city known to produce one of the highest-quality sake brands - Nadagogou. Nishinomiya Shrine is the head Ebisu shrine that presides over more than 3,500 Ebisu shrines. It is also commonly known as “Nishinomiya no Ebe-ssan”.
It is not known when the shrine was first founded, however, it appeared in a document from 1172, suggesting it already existed at that time. It was during the Muromachi Period, when the Seven Lucky Gods became widely popular and songs and plays related to them were broadly shown nationally. At that time, Ebisu, who was a deity of wealth and one of the Seven Lucky Gods, came to be known and worshiped all over the country. The Ebisu dance performed in front of the Nishinomiya Shrine is said to be the foundation of the Oosaka Bunraku and Awaji Puppet Theaters.
The Toyotomi Family and the Tokugawa Family, the subsequent leaders of Japan, also embraced and protected the shrine and Ebisu worship and, as local commerce developed, Ebisu became deeply rooted and honored as the deity of prosperity in business.
The shrine was destroyed by fire during the Second World War and restored fully in 1961. The Ooneribei wall, built during the Muromachi Period and the Omote Daimon gate in the Momoyama architectural style are designated as National Important Cultural Assets.
For three days at the beginning of each year, from January 9th through 11th, a big festival called “Touka Ebisu” is held and the shrine becomes filled with more than 1 million visitors.
Sairinji Temple is a Shingon sect temple located in Furuichi, Habikino City, Osaka Pref. The principal image is the standing statue of Yakushi Nyorai. According to the temple record, it originates in Kogenji Temple established by the Kawachi no Fumi clan, the descendents of a Confucian scholar Wang In of Baekje.
The excavated tiles and other items indicate that the temple was established at some time during the Asuka period (the late 6th C. to the early 8th C.). The foundation stone of a pagoda placed in the garden of the temple is nearly 2 m tall and over 27 tons in weight. It is the largest foundation stone of a pagoda identified with the Asuka period. The formal seven buildings had been completed by 679 and it is confirmed that those buildings had existed until 743. Most of the buildings and the pagoda were destroyed by the battles in the Warring States period (1493-1573) and Haibutsu Kishaku (the anti-Buddhism movement) in the Meiji period (1868-1912).
As one of the Kawachi Asuka Shichifukujin (Seven Gods of Good Fortune) temples, Sairinji Temple worships the deity Ebisu, who wears the Kazaori Eboshi (a tall hat) and the Kariginu (hunting garment) with holding a fishing rod and a red sea bream. Sairinji is a temple with a long history since the ancient times.
The seven Gods of Fortune, or Seven Lucky Gods, are the seven Shinto deities, who are believed to bring good luck. Generally they are Ebisu, Daikokuten, Bishamonten, Benzaiten, Fukurokuju, Jurojin, and Hotei. Shojo and Inari, who were once included as the members, are now precluded from membership because they are not in human form, it is said. Neither six nor eight, the number “seven” is said to originate in a phrase in a Buddhist sutra “shichi-nan-sokumetsu, shichi-fuku-sokujou” (seven calamities immediately vanish, seven happiness immediately come), or “Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove” in China. Shichifukujin Meguri (the pilgrimage tour) is still very popular in Japan. It is believed that on New Year’s Day, if you put a picture of the Seven Lucky Gods on their ship, Takarabune (Treasure Ship), you will have a lucky hatsuyume (the first dream of the year).
At Ebisu shrines, January 10 on Lunar Calendar is considered the day of Ebisu and the business success festivals are held at all the Ebisu shrines in the country. At Imayama Ebisu Shrine in Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture, Toka Ebisu is held on February 10 according to the New Calendar. Toka Ebisu at Imayama Ebisu Shrine is one of the three largest Ebisu festivals in Kyushu.
February 10 is the main festival day, and the 9th is called the Eve of Ebisu, while the 11th is known as the “Ake-Ebisu (Following Ebisu).”
As Ebisu is the patron deity of business as well as agriculture and fishery, the precinct is filled with people who offer a prayer and shop at stalls selling lucky items such as bamboo branches, bamboo rakes (to collect happiness) and straw rice bags. The famous grind of bamboo venders, “Bring a bamboo branch for your business success!” is heard from everywhere in the precinct.
Bamboo branches bought in the previous year are burned at the Shono (burning and returning) ritual on this day.
Meguro Fudoson is a popular name for Ryusenji Temple, an old temple of the Tendai sect, located in Shimo-meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo. It is said that the town name “Meguro (black eyes)” originates in the principal image of this temple, the statue of Fudo Myoo with black eyes. The temple is said to have been established in 808 by the priest Jikaku Daishi Ennin, who placed the statue of Fudo Myoo at this place on his way from Shimotsuke province (present-day Tochigi Pref.) to Kyoto. In the precinct flows down the Tokko Waterfall, which sprang out of the spot where Jikaku Daishi threw his tokko (a tool for priests) to decide the location of the temple. The temple name “Ryusen (waterfall and spring)” is said to be originated in this episode. It is believed that one can be cured of a disease if he stands under the waterfall. In the Bunka-Bunsei era (1804-1829) of the Edo period, the temple was a popular place to get “Tomi-kuji (fortune lotto).”
Ryusenji Temple is the oldest Fudo temple in Japan and counted as one of Japan’s three largest Fudo temples, the 18th temple of Kanto 36 Fudo Pilgrimage Temples, one of Edo Goshiki Fudo (Five Different-colored Fudo statues in Edo) to guard Edo Castle. It also enshrines Ebisu (god of fishers and merchants) as one of Yama-no-te Shichifukujin Temples (Seven Gods of Fortune in Yama-no-te area).
Nakayama-Senkyo is located in a steep mountain area called Ebisuyaba in the Kunisaki Peninsula. It is 317m above sea level and 200m above sea level at the entrance to its hiking course. If you take the course, Mumyo Bridge is a 30-minute walk, Takaki is a one-hour walk and all the other courses take about 2 hours.
Mumyo Bridge lies on the hiking course and is a stone bridge comprising two long flat slabs that connect at the bridge center. The bridge spans between rocks and is 40cm wide and 3m long.
When crossing the bridge, you may be afraid of falling, but the village view is so great you will pause to take a look. From Takaki, the top of the mountain, you can enjoy a panoramic view.
A fishermen’s big catch banner or tairyōbata is the specialty product made in Misaki City, Kanagawa Pref. It is selected as one of 100 Fine Specialty Products of the prefecture. Now, there are only a few places where the tairyōbata is made in Japan. These banners are flown from the vessels as the signal to let the families and peers who are waiting for the vessels to return to the harbor know of the big hauls of fish as soon as possible. Those banners were handmade at the town of Misaki, which has been the base for tuna fishery, since the beginning of the Meiji period. This banner was originally given as a gift to the owners of the fishing boats when a new boat was built. However, they are recently given as the gifts on various occasions such as marriage, child birth, opening of a shop, etc. Images like cranes, turtles, sea breams, Mt. Fuji, the Takarabune (the treasure ship), and Ebisu-Daikoku (the god of fishing), all of which are thought to be lucky, are painted on the banners. The tairyōbata of Misaki is an attractive marine art to represent fishermen’s spirit.