japanese good luck charms

8 Fascinating Japanese Good Luck Charms and Symbols You Must Know

We all need a bit of extra luck from time to time, and the Chinese use lucky symbols to activate the money luck and good fortune. But, on the other hand, the Japanese also have their collections of good luck charms that are believed to bring good luck and ward off negativity.

Are you facing a hard time now and want to have your fortune changed for the better? Why not use some Japanese good luck symbols to achieve this goal?

1. Maneki Neko

This beckoning cat is one of the most popular good luck symbols well-liked by many people. They believed it could bring good luck to the home and office space. As a result, we often see this lucky cat waving at you when you enter a retail shop or office space.

In Chinese culture, we called it the Fortune Cat, symbolizing attracting money and good luck into your life. This cat comes in various patterns and designs with different symbolism behind each type.

2. Daruma Doll

The Japanese modelled the Daruma doll after Bodhidharma, who is a monk accredited with the founding of Zen Buddhism. This figurine is generally hollow, round-shaped, and depicted with red clothes.

It is a traditional Japanese doll that symbolizes perseverance and good luck. Besides that, this figurine also has a wish-granting ability. Therefore it has become a popular souvenir to give your loved ones as a gift.

3. Ema – Wishing Plaques

I believe that many of us have seen these wooden plaques when we visit Japanese shrines or temples. But do you know the name of this good luck charm and its significance?

This wooden palm-sized plaque is called “Ema”. People write their prayers and wish so that God can hear them and grant them.


4. Origami Crane 

In Japanese tradition, the crane is a mystical creature, similar to the Chinese four celestial animals. They are the Azure Dragon, White Tiger, Phoenix and Turtle. The locals believe the crane has a life span of thousand years, so it is an iconic representation of good fortune and longevity.

It has been a tradition and belief that if a person folds 1000 origami cranes, their wishes will come true. Will you try it?

5. Laughing Buddha (Hotei)

In both Chinese and Japanese culture, the Laughing Buddha is significant in bringing happiness and prosperity to the people. Many also believed that rubbing their belly would bring the person good luck.

Now you know why many people keep touching the laughing Buddha belly in the temple.

6. Koi Fish / Carp

Similarly to the Chinese belief, the Japanese also believed that this Koi fish/carp is an auspicious symbol. It represents good luck, perseverance in adversity, and success.

It all starts with a legendary story of a koi/carp that successfully leapt over the dragon gate and transformed into a mighty dragon. Therefore, it symbolizes a breakthrough in your life or career. If you are gifting someone who has just started a new business, this carp fish is the perfect choice with an auspicious symbolism.

7. Omamori – Japanese Lucky Charms

Omamori is a symbol of protection and blessing for many purposes. They are namely good fortune, academic success, money and business, good health, safe childbirth, love, happiness, safe travel and many other auspicious meanings.

Remember to drop by almost any shrines and Buddhist temples to purchase them when you are in Japan. If not, you can just get it online.


8. Golden Lucky Turtle

This golden turtle symbol has been trending in the past years. People believe it brings good money luck when you place two inside your wallet/purse. You can put it at your work desk or calculator for business or career luck.

It is also an ideal gift for the elder because the tortoise/turtle symbolizes long life and good health. As for the material, it is not 999 gold and people crafted this symbol using gilded gold that is more suitable for decor, so do not be mistaken.

Now, you know the meaning behind the Japanese good luck charms and symbols, so remember to get one when you visit Japan.


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