Omamori (お守り) are charms or amulets available at temples and shrines. The word contains part of the word for “protect” (mamoru 守る), and they are meant to protect the bearer from misfortune and bring good luck.
Temples and shrines in Japan offer omamori for all of your luck needs, whether it be for academic purposes, health, romance, or safe travels. The charms that offer these services are usually pocket-sized and come in all sorts of shapes. Omamori are generally considered to be effective for one year, and many people will return the omamori to the place where they acquired it for proper disposal after a year has passed.
Many omamori contain pieces of paper with blessings or prayers written on them. Opening the charm to see the paper, however, is thought to void its protective powers.
You can see many people hanging these charms from their bags and cell phones in Japan. Omamori can make great souvenirs, and even if you don’t consider yourself a superstitious person, having a good luck charm couldn’t hurt.
Ninna-ji has all kinds of charms, including several that are original designs, such as the Otafuku charm. Look forward to some up-coming posts introducing different types of charms available here at Ninna-ji!