What is Omikuji? Many Kinds of Written Oracle.

The Omikuji is a fortune drawn at the shrine at the start of the year. It is a thin piece of paper written with predictions for your luck in the new year (ranging from very lucky to very unlucky).

●How to draw an omikuji
There are various types of Omikuji in Japan, but the most common type seen at Japanese shrines and temples is the following:
You will be invited to shake a hollow, rectangular box containing long wooden (typically bamboo) sticks. A number is displayed at the edge of the stick and behind the shrine counter you can exchange the stick for an omikuji that matches the same number.
Some shrine even have large boxes which are impossible to shake by yourself.

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●Kinds of Omikuji
The basic Omikuji shows your fortune, Dai-Kichi (Great Luck), Kichi (Good luck), Chu-Kichi (Medium Luck), Sho-Kichi (A Little Luck), and Kyo (Bad Luck). Some shrines rank Kichi (good luck) between Sho-Kichi (a little luck) and Sue-Kichi (minimal luck).
Some shrines divide the luck even further: Dai-Kichi (Great Luck), Kichi (Good luck), Chu-Kichi (Medium Luck), Sho-Kichi (A Little Luck), Han-Kichi (Half Luck), Sue-Kichi (Good Luck in the future), Sue-Sho-Kichi (Small Good Luck in the future), Hei (Flat), Kyo (Bad Luck), Sho-Kyo (A Little Bad Luck), Han-Kyo (Half Bad Luck), Sue-Kyo (Bad Luck in the future), and finally Dai-Kyo (Extremely Bad Luck).

Recently some temples have added Dai-dai-Kichi (Very very good luck) and Dai-dai-Kyo (Very very bad luck).
The proportion of fortunes displaying good and bad luck is different by location, but nowadays many shrines reduce the ratio of bad fortunes. However the main purpose of the Omikuji is not to dictate whether you will have good/bad luck in the new year, but to add insight by providing an accompanying explanation and wisdom on how to live righteously.

Photo by Ryosuke Sekido, Japanexperterna.se

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