Omamori - Japanese Lucky and Protection Charms

Omamori [お守り] is an amulet or object that represents a person's wish for good luck or blessings. It also serves as a form of protection, talisman or enchantment and is often found in temples and shrines throughout Japan.

How is an Omamori used?

The omamori or charms should be put on your phone, purse, wallet, home wall, pocket or something like that. Even those Japanese who do not believe in blessing or power, use it for the purpose of a placebo effect, so they are fiercely popular.

Omamori popularized so much in the shinto how much in Buddhism. The priests thought that putting the power and strength of the gods in small pocket blessings would keep people safe and motivated.

Initially, its main objective was to ward off evil spirits and protect customers from bad experiences. Subsequently, they developed hundreds of types of these amulets / talismans. Today, there is a wide selection of handmade charms.

Omamori - amulets of protection and luck

Differences between omamori in Shinto and Buddhism

There is little difference between Shinto and Buddhist omamori: both contain a small prayer inside, are covered with a silk cloth, are stamped with the name of the place and hung by a delicate thread.

Never, ever open the omamori. Otherwise, the blessing is released and all the luck and protection you have sought is lost. Carry it out of your backpack (although this is not a firm rule).

Priests and maidens of the Shinto shrine will emphasize that each has an expiration date. Usually, about a year later, or until its purpose is fulfilled.

Once they “expire”, return them to the sanctuary or temple from which you purchased. Thus, they will discard you in a sacred fire with others.

Omamori - amulets of protection and luck

Types of Omamori - Japanese Amulets

There are two main types of omamori. The first and most popular are the talismans, which are rectangular. These gain their power from words written on paper or wood. The words can be the name of the sanctuary, or a section of a sutra, or powerful words. The wood or paper is then sealed in a cloth bag.

The second type is the morphic omamori which are made in the form of something. Traditional forms are bottle gourd, bell and bundle. Each has ceremonial links to objects used in Shinto practices. Some temples offer omamori exclusive.

Below we will see a list with the main types of amulets in Japan. There are thousands, since some are very specific in their functions. The ones in the list below can be easily found anywhere, or made at home.

Usually the amulets have specific colors according to their function, the names of the amulets that we will see next is usually what is written on the amulet in question. These are words that represent their function well. Some can be filled with phrases!

Remembering that there are other amulets that we will not mention in the article, some bring digital security, others promise to protect even against bear attacks or protect your pet. There is a type of amulet for anything, you can even invent yours.

Katsumori - The Talisman of Success

Katsumori [勝守] is potentially one of the most sought after, it is likely to be found in almost all shrines and temples. They often carry the image of an arrow, which is a common symbol in Shinto to point to a goal.

Although “success” can be vague at first glance, it has a promise: the user channels his energy in a single objective and the talisman guarantees that it will happen.

Omamori - amulets of protection and luck
Katsumori - Talisman of success

Yakuyoke - The evil prevention charm

The distinction between this amulet and the katsumori it's the way it helps you with your goal. While the katsumori help in their ventures, the yakuyoke [厄除け] prevents potential ills that can inhibit your success.

Those who are tormented by a bad event can take the amulet as a way to quell any superstitions and bring some relief.

Omamori - amulets of protection and luck

Shoubaihanjou - The money talisman

Shoubaihanjou [商売繁盛] comes in the form of a bag of money. To help you with your financial situation. You can identify a shoubaihanjou hung in the folders of some wage earners. In some shrines there are specific money talismans for investments or savings, business or personal finance.

In other cases, there are bags of money that are directed to luck in search of money, inheritance or even good deals while shopping. If these talismans help your wallet to recover your money or not, that's too much to ask.

Omamori - amulets of protection and luck
Shoubaihanjou - Omamori of Money

Gakugyoujouju - Talisman of Education and Studies

The gakugyoujouju [学業成就] are popular with students who carry them in their backpacks during their school career, in order to encourage their studies and improve their knowledge acquisition.

This is not designed to help you pass any tests - there is a different amulet for that. This amulet can be used not only by students, but by anyone who wants to gain knowledge.

Omamori - amulets of protection and luck
Gakugyoujouju - Omamori of Studies

Koutsuanzen - Amulet of Safe Transit

The koutsuanzen [交通安全] is used by drivers, mainly taxi drivers who want to have a safe trip, can be seen hanging from the car mirror or under the steering wheel, rear view or glued to the dashboard. Even people who use bicycles often tie this omamori to walk smoothly through traffic.

Some professionals personalize their amulets with the license plate or number of the location or wagon in which they work. Students wishing to obtain their driver’s licenses also often use this amulet to pass the test.

Omamori - amulets of protection and luck
Koutsuanzen - Safe Transit Omamori

Kauin - Lucky Charms

The Kauin [開運] are the most common amulets that are lucky in general without anything specific. They can be found easily, are usually bought as souvenirs and bear the name of the sanctuary or temple without much detail.

If you don’t have a specific goal in mind, or simply want a little reminder of a sanctuary to remember your visit, without any commitment, this may be your best choice. Nowadays it is not as popular as the yakuyoke.

Omamori - amulets of protection and luck
Kauin - Omamori of memories

Shiawase - Amulet of Happiness

The omamori written shiawase [幸せ] which literally means happiness, has a nuance of helping the user with methods and ways to improve his life; As the name suggests, give happiness in any area of life.

One of the most popular charms for really focusing on true happiness, since everyone knows that financial success is not what brings true happiness. This amulet promises to fill the void of this crazy life.

Omamori - amulets of protection and luck
Shiawase - Omamori of happiness

Kenkou - Health Amulet

Kenkou [健康] is the amulet focused on helping your health. This omamori offers personal protection, prevention and other things related to a person’s health.

Another type of amulet kenkou quite rare and popular it aims to protect people in sexual health. They can be found during the Kanamara Matsuri the famous bizarre fertility festival.

Omamori - amulets of protection and luck

Enmusubi and Anzan - Amulets of Love

Love is a common theme among omamori, love charms can be divided into several categories, depending on the person’s situation. These amulets usually have a small message of love and are used to bring people together.

Enmusubi [縁結び] does not refer only to a simple amulet bought in a temple. It is common for lovers to take a piece of paper and write the name and age of the person they wish to marry, fold it and tie it to a railing or tree branch in a shrine or temple to ore for a wedding .

The word enmusubi means lace of love, wedding or wedding lace, also makes reference to the red wire of fate. This name is present in any type of amulet related to love and romantic connection between people.

Couples - High school students usually purchase these amulets in temples in order to solidify their relationship.

Married - There are large and unique amulets used for a couple to protect their marriage.

Omamori - amulets of protection and luck
Love Charms Enmusubi Omamori

There are also sets of omamori to protect family members called a kanai-anzen which means something like "Please keep my family out of danger". They offer little reminders of love between parents and children, and continue to strengthen the marriage during the family’s difficulties.

The amulet of delivery It is known as "anzan”[安産] these help to ensure a fast and safe delivery. The word anzan literally means easy birth. These are just a few of the countless types of omamori existing.

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