You're may be wondering, "A five yen coin? What's that all about?"
We'll talk about the coins soon. First, I want to thank you for having a look at our little site. We're a tiny operation right now (just a couple people!) so we appreciate the love.
Our shop grew out of conversations with those living outside Japan who have an interest in the myriad Shintō shrines and Buddhist temples around the country. At such places, there are a wide variety of objects that can be purchased by visitors that promise to bring good luck, protection and other blessings. Because most shrines and temples are small and don't have a large staff beyond their clergy, they rarely offer these items for sale online and certainly not with international shipping as an option.
And that's where we come in. Everything we have available was purchased directly from the shrine or temple listed along with it. You can be assured that every item is authentic and that the actual institution received money for it. Nothing was purchase en masse from factories, as you're likely to find on eBay and the like. Everything is brand-new and comes in the original packaging from its shrine/temple.
We also want you to understand what you're purchasing. Everything has a cultural explanation along with translations of Japanese writing on the objects. We clearly identify each shrine/temple and give an introduction describing its significance and history as well as links to read more about it. And here on this blog, we'll be writing more in-depth articles about various aspects of Shintō and Japanese Buddhism.
Right now, we primarily carry amulets, called omamori, which are charms for good luck or protection. These have a whole galaxy of colors, shapes and designs, with each shrine or temple having their own unique styles. Even if you're not a follower of Japanese spirituality, omamori are still perfectly acceptable to own and present as gifts. The offering and receiving of these amulets in modern Japan is largely an act of goodwill rather than piety. However, they should still be treated with some respect, and our omamori FAQ should cover everything you need to know about them.
In the future, we may provide other, more "serious" items for those who practice, such as ofuda and kamidana. We may also explore providing services, such as writing personalized ema messages or accepting old omamori to be burned. We'd love to hear from you if you have specific requests for items or services you'd like to see!
So, back to the original question: what's up with the "five yen coin"?
The word for "five yen" in Japanese is go'en written with the characters 五円. There is another word also pronounced go'en, but written with the characters ご縁. This second word doesn't have an exact translation to English, but basically means relationship, a connection, a bond, along with implications of fate and destiny, especially in the form of the mysterious force that brings people together for a certain reason. For this reason, five yen coins are often given as offerings at Shintō shrines in the hopes of making a good connection and having a good relationship with the kami enshrined therein. It is used the in the phrase Go'en ga arimasu youni: we pray for a good partnership. We've chosen to use that phrase as our motto and the five yen coin as our symbol.