A pilgrimage for New Years: the Procession of the Seven Lucky Gods, or the Seven Gods of Fortune, Yono, Saitama City. Information for the parade as well as the limited edition Seven Lucky God stamps. The Seven ‘Fukujin’ Lucky Gods are Ebisu, Daikokuten, Bishamonten, Benzaiten, Jurojin, Hotei, Fukurokuju and Kichijoten. Each of them bestow a different fortune, which is outlined in this post with where you can find each God in Yono, Saitama City.
Seven Lucky Gods Procession
The procession of the Seven Lucky Gods is an annual New Year’s event in Yono in Saitama City, Japan. Each year the procession is held on the 3rd of January in the Kita Yono area. The main shrine is the Kamimachi Hikawa Shrine, a fifteen minute walk from Kita Yono station. In addition, for the proceeding two days, you can collect commemorative stamps at each of the participating shrines and temples.
The Gods are believed to protect against seven difficulties and bestow seven fortunes. All year round you can find procession events to temples and shrines of one of the Gods. Kawagoe, for example, has a monthly Seven Lucky Gods pilgrimage on the first of the month.
Yono Seven Lucky Gods Parade
This procession in Yono is one of the larger and more fun Seven Lucky Gods procession events because you do it with people dressed up to look like one of the Gods. Seven people dress up as one of the lucky Gods – six men and one woman – each who have a distinct look. Apart from the parade with the seven Gods, there is usually other events also. For example, a shishimai performance – another traditional New Year event in Japan. The procession usually starts from Kamicho Hikawa Shrine (Kita Yono) at 11.30 am and ends at Suzuyadaido at around 2.15 / 2.30 pm. The shrines and temples of the pilgrimage:
- Kamicho Hikawa Shrine for Fukurokuju, the God of wisdom and also luck, longevity, wealth and happiness
- Issan Shrine for Ebisu, the God of prosperity and wealth and the patron of fishermen
- Tenso Shrine for Jurojin, the God of the elderly and longevity
- Ontakesha for Benzaiten, the God of financial fortune as well as talent, beauty and music, among others. She is the only female Fukujin of the seven.
- Enjoin Temple for Daikokuten, the God of commerce and prosperity and patron of cooks, farmers and bakers.
- Enpuku-ji Temple for Hotei, who is sometimes called the Japanese Santa Claus! He is the God of fortune and popularity as well as the patron of diviners and barmen, and a guardian of children.
- Suzuyadaido for Bishamonten, who is the God of fortune in wars and battles and the patron of fighters.
An image of the Yono parade from the Saitama Tourism and International Relations Bureau:
Event: Yono Seven Lucky Gods pilgrimage / Procession (parade) of the Seven Lucky Gods 与野七福神めぐり・与野七福神仮装パレード
Date: the procession is on January 3rd annually and the stamps are on sale from the 1st to the 3rd.
Time: from 9 am to 4 pm for stamps. From 11.30 am to 2.30 pm. Please always check the official website for any last minute changes.
Cost: there is no fee to spectate the procession. Stamps cost 100 yen each or for one with a special background it is 1000 yen for one and just 2000 yen for the special paper with all seven.
Venue: Kamicho Hikawa Shrine, Issan Shrine, Tenso Shrine, Ontakesha, Enjoin Temple, Enpuku-ji Temple, Suzuyadaido all in the Yono area of Saitama City. They are all plotted on a Google Map below the ‘Access’ paragraph.
The event is held in the vicinity of JR Kita Yono Station and also Yono Honmachi station which are on the Saikyo line. The Saikyo line runs between Osaki in Tokyo and Omiya, also in Saitama Prefecture.
Editor’s note: 20171227. This post was temporarily removed from the website during the pandemic as the event was cancelled for three years in a row. It was republished on December 25th 2023.