Kyoto Shimbun 2013.12.3 News

Preparing for New Year with "Fukukasane"
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

On December 3, Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, started preparations for the New Year, making "Fukukasane," or a lucky charm available to people paying their first visit of the year to the shrine. "Kagurame," or female shrine attendants in vermilion "hakama," or Japanese skirts, carefully finished each lucky charm.

Fukukasane is a combination of four lucky items: a votive pictorial plaque with a picture of horse, which is the oriental zodiac sign for next year; "Shirushi-no-sugi," or a spray of cedar from the shrine's sacred trees; a rice ear; and a protective arrow. The original pictures of the votive pictorial plaques were painted, as usual, by Japanese-style painters, Atsushi Uemura and Izuru Yurimoto.

Seven shrine attendants are deftly bundling the items up. Ai Oishi, who is participating for the first time, said, "While preparing them, I am praying next year will be a good year."

They expect to finish making approximately 20,000 charms by the end of this year. The charms will be available for 2,500 yen from New Year's Day.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Shrine attendants making "Fukukasane" by combining lucky items (December 3, Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto)