With Japan in the midst of sakura (cherry blossom) season, the wealth of seasonal goods is hard to miss. This even extends to Shinto shrines, and the "omamori" (お守り), charms, they have available. Some of these limited-time-only cherry blossom charms promise to protect you from misfortune or help you find love, but others are just there so you can get into the spirit of the sakura season. Not everyone loves the explosion of cherry blossom flavored drinks and snacks during the spring in Japan, so these shrines are offering another great way to enjoy the season, and take a little bit of it home with you.
Sakura Lace Bracelet: Asagaya Shinmeigu Shrine Kanmusubi
These "kanmusubi" (神結び), or "god's knots," are some of the prettier charms available, and are popular among those who want to show off their love of cherry blossoms. Quite unlike the standard omamori charms, these are made of delicate woven ribbon. Aside from wearing them on the wrist, though, kanmusubi can also be hung on a purse, or used as a bookmark.
This year's bracelet charms come in three varieties: standard cherry blossom, weeping cherry blossom, and night cherry blossom. These three varieties are different colors, but also include some different decoration and detailing. With them all being so cute, it's hard not to buy all three! Since they're all carefully handmade, though, the price comes to 1000 yen each, which is a little higher than a standard omamori charm. It's the perfect chance to splurge and buy one as a treat for a friend!!
In addition to their famous God's Knots, Asagaya Shinmeigu Shrine also offers a special cherry blossom season "goshuin" (ご朱印), which is a shrine seal. Goshuin from various shrines are usually collected in a special book, and this stamp and calligraphy featuring pink sakura embroidery would make a lovely addition to anyone's collection. Asagaya Shinmeigu Shrine, dedicated to Shinto's highest god, Amaterasu, was built in the Edo period, and has a history going back more than two hundred years. It's a great place to check out cherry blossoms in Tokyo!
Hikawa Shrine's Sakura Charms of Protection
The Hikawa Shrine in Kawagoe, is best known for its impressive tradition of hanging wind chimes every summer. We've written about the shrine's wind chimes and some of the other appeals of Kawagoe in our previous article about the area
. The Hikawa Shrine also celebrates the cherry blossom trees lining the river bank every year by releasing new, limited-edition sakura goods.
This year's protective omamori charms come in five different designs, all meant to differently reflect the Hikawa Shrine's beautiful riverbank sakura. The shrine is popular with young people, and especially among those in love, since this shrine's god is in charge of marriage and relationships. With so many visitors, it's best to line up quickly if you want one of these special little charms.
Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine
Address: 2-11-3 Miyashitamachi, Kawagoe, Saitama
Station: Kawagoe Hikawajinja Station, Hikawajinjamae Station
Image Source:Hikawa Shrine Facebook
Alongside the two shrines with cherry blossom charms mentioned above, the famous Tokyo Daijingu also has a very cute sakura-themed offering. Similar to the bell charms available at Kyoto's Kiyomizudera Temple, these little cherry blossom bells are very popular. It's said that if you give them a ring, you can summon the gods to listen in. With such a cute floral pattern, though, who wouldn't take notice?
So, what do you think? Has the appeal of pink cherry blossoms drawn you in? Are you going to run out and cover yourself in adorable protective charms, or buy a few for all of your friends? If you know of any other special charms that are unique to the sakura season, send us a message and let us know!
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