Friday, 24 January 2014

How to avoid disasters (the Japanese way)

In Japan there are lots of superstitions. One of them is that there are three years in your life which disasters are likely to happen. Last Saturday I went to the shrine which is for praying for protection from these disasters.

  • For women the disaster years are 19, 33 and 61. For men they are 25, 42 and 61.
  • You are supposed to visit the shrine the year before your disaster year to pray for protection and then the year after to thank the gods. Since I turn 19 next year I went to the shrine and did lots of praying!
  • People visit all through out the year but in January there is actually a special disaster festival. However we missed it because it started on Sunday. The festival is called Yakuyoke mairu, meaning the time to avoid disasters.
  • You could buy white arrows to keep and burn next year. On Sunday people started to burn the arrows which they bought last year. 
It was a shame that we didn't get to see the festival, but in any case it was a nice shrine to walk around. The shrine was called Iwashimizu Hachimangu and it takes about 20 minutes on the Keihan line from Kyoto station to Yawata-shi station. From Yawata-shi station you then take a cable car up the mountain and then walk for about 5 minutes to the shrine.

Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine

A dance with peoples white arrows.



  1. So interesting! I'd be curious to know how the belief started or how the specific years were chosen. Fortunately I've already passed 19 and I have a few years left before 33! :)

    1. Glad you find it interesting :) I`m not sure how the tradition started or why they decided those years were disaster years!