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Getting Lucky in Nagano: Visiting The Seven Gods of Good Fortune

In the first two weeks of the year, it’s customary to visit all seven gods at their shrines and scoop up as much luck as possible for the coming year.

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Collect all the stamps of the Seven Gods during this end of year break.

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In Japanese mythology, there are Seven Gods of Luck (Shichi-fuku-jin) who are believed to offer good fortune in return for your prayers. Traditionally, these beloved figures are enshrined at temples and shrines across the country, but they’re often seen throughout pop culture, too!

Perhaps you’ve seen Ebisu, the god of good fortune and fishermen, in a more pedestrian capacity as the face of Yebisu beer? In the first two weeks of the year, it’s customary to visit all seven gods at their shrines and scoop up as much luck as possible for the coming year.

However, there’s really nothing stopping you from doing a Shichifukujin Meguri (seven lucky gods tour) at any time of year—most major cities in Japan will have at least one version. On a recent trip to Nagano, I decided to up my luck and participate in the Zenkoji Shichifukujin Meguri, or Zenkoji Seven Lucky Gods walk. Here’s how it goes! 

Zenkoji Shichifukujin Meguri 

The lucky gods are enshrined at seven locations around Nagano City’s main thoroughfare of Zenkoji Omotesando, and it’s roughly a 2.5km trek to see them all.

You can simply visit them and pay your respects, but we think it’s more fun to make it official and participate in a stamp rally! The Tourist Information Office at Nagano Station sells a kit for 800 yen which is essentially a thick piece of cardboard (shikishi) printed with the names of the sites (and their gods) in calligraphy. 

Tourist Information Center at Nagano Station

When I collected the goshuin stamp kit, the staff member apologised that there weren’t any English maps/literature available. She circled the locations on a Japanese map which I then saved as a digital version. Follow along with my route here, which takes you around to all sites in sequential order, as well as past some great Nagano attractions. 

(You can read the rest of the article at this link. This article was first published by Team JJ on November 19, 2021. Check here for deeper and unique insights into visiting Japan, including wellness, travel, cuisine and more. Find us on Instagram and on Facebook.)

Author: Team JJ