When seeking the perfect gift, you’ll naturally want to choose something that will make the recipient happy! However, wouldn’t it be great if, alongside style and fun, the gift also brought them good luck and divine protection? In this article, we will introduce and explore the origins of 50 traditional Japanese lucky charms that do all that and more! Be sure to read all the way to the end - some of their histories are bound to surprise you!
What Are Japanese Lucky Charms?
Japanese lucky charms are called “engimono” (縁起物), meaning items with positive “engi.” Engi is usually translated as “luck” but originally referred to a Buddhist doctrine teaching that “everything has a cause and nothing occurs without meaning.” In a larger sense, it means that everything in the world is connected by invisible threads. Over time, this philosophy began categorizing things as having positive or negative “engi” energy.
The history of Japanese “engimono” is very long. Since ancient times, the Japanese believed that some objects with positive engi could bring you luck, such as a bountiful harvest, a plentiful catch, prosperity in business, or the safety of your family. These objects eventually became popular gifts used to this day to show others that you care about them. The history of Japanese lucky charms is also closely connected to the talismans sold or given to worshipers at festivals, Shinto shrines, and Buddhist temples.
50 Japanese Lucky Charms and Their Origins
We’ve narrowed the plethora of lucky charms in Japan down to a selection of 50 particularly recommended as gifts. Read on to discover their meanings and origins and find the talisman that will make your recipient the happiest.
A talisman used to pray for the safety of your family, sound health, and victory in all forms.
Kumade Bamboo Rake (pictured above)
A talisman used to attract success in business, “kumade” is a bamboo rake literally meaning “bear paw” due to its resemblance to the spread paws of a bear. It’s considered a talisman because the act of raking leaves symbolizes raking in good luck and money. The kumade rake also appears together with many other lucky charms.
Hagoita Paddles (pictured above with a shuttlecock)
A talisman for women, used to ward off evil.
Morning Glory Flower (pictured above)
A talisman used to pray for a child’s healthy growth. This comes from the fact that the morning glory matures early. This itself is also connected to its Japanese name, “asagao,” literally meaning “morning face,” since the flower blooms at dawn.
Japanese Lantern (Winter Cherry) Plant (pictured above)
Written in Japanese with the characters for “ogre/demon” and “lantern,” this plant produces a red fruit inside a papery covering as it matures.
If the maneki neko is waving its right arm, it means that it’s a male cat that attracts money. If it’s the left arm, it’s a female and will attract customers to a business.
Seven Gods of Fortune (pictured above in the “ukiyo-e” style portrait by the artist Kuniyoshi Utagawa)
- Daikokuten: the god of bountiful harvests, family fortune, and the prosperity of one’s descendants.
- Bishamonten: the god of wealth and treasure.
- Ebisu: the god of prosperity and success in business.
- Jurojin: the god of longevity.
- Fukurokuju: the god of prosperity of one’s descendants, financial fortune, and longevity
- Benzaiten: the goddess of financial fortune.
- Hotei: the god of fortune and prosperity.
It’s said that if you take a picture of a treasure ship, write a special palindrome phrase on it, and place it under your pillow on the night of January 2nd, your first dream of the new year will be pleasant. The phrase is “なかきよのとをのねぶりのみなめざめなみのりぶねのおとのよきかな” (“The gentle sound of the waves made by the passing ship brings with it pleasant sleep”).
Hamaya Arrow and Hamayumi Bow (pictured above)
A ceremonial arrow and bow for driving off evil.
Mizuhiki Cord (pictured above)
A decorative cord often found on ceremonial envelopes to signify that they are “unopened”. Said to ward off and exorcise evil, as well as bring one luck in love.
Tsunodaru Cask (pictured above)
A lucky charm used during various celebrations.
Heigushi/Heigoshi Staff (pictured above)
A staff used to pray for the prosperity of one’s household or family, or to ward off evil. It’s also used in various religious rites like exorcisms or purification ceremonies.
Katsuobushi (Dried Bonito Shavings)
Since “katsuobushi” (鰹節 ) can also be written phonetically with the characters for “victorious warrior” (勝男武士), dried bonito fish shavings are considered lucky charms that grant one marital bliss, longevity, and secure victory.
Hemp Yarn (Kanto Region) and Takasago Dolls (Kansai region) [the latter pictured above]
Lucky charms used to pray for marital bliss until you’re both old and gray.
A lucky charm used to pray for increasing prosperity.
Shimenawa Sacred Rope (pictured above)
A lucky charm believed to purify your household by cordoning it off from the misfortunes previous years.
Kadomatsu New Year's Pine (pictured above)
A lucky charm used to make the gods notice your home. Typically placed by the entrance or above the gate during the New Year.
Fukuwarai (pictured above)
A New Year lucky charm game where participants try to make a face using a paper nose, mouth, and other parts with their eyes closed.
Koma Spinning Top
A lucky charm said to help all manner of things go over smoothly.
Lucky charms used to pray for a girl’s healthy growth and happiness.
Koinobori Carp Streamers (pictured above)
Lucky charms used to pray for a boy to grow up healthy and strong.
Busho Ningyo Doll and Kabuto Helmet
Lucky charms used to pray for a newborn baby boy’s safety and happiness.
Tai Sea Bream
Since sea bream is called “tai” in Japanese, it’s considered a lucky charm due to sharing an ending with the word “medetai,” meaning “happy” or “auspicious.”
As the Japanese spiny lobster’s curved back brings to mind an elderly person, the crustacean has come to symbolize longevity in Japan.
Crane and Tortoise
Both are symbols of longevity, with the crane said to represent 1,000 years and the tortoise 10,000 years.
Asian goldfish often feature white and red coloring, which are considered auspicious colors in Japan.
A lucky charm said to symbolize success in life and overcoming adversities.
Jewel Beetle (pictured above)
The jewel beetle has long been considered lucky and precious in Japan due to its resemblance to a jewel.
It’s said that the gold beetle brings fortune and prosperity to those it visits.
White Snakes or Shed Snake Skin
Symbols of financial fortune. It’s said that by putting a shed snake skin in your wallet, you’ll be able to save up a fortune.
A lucky charm used to pray for the prosperity of one’s descendants. The association comes from the fact that the Japanese word for frog is “kaeru,” which also sounds like the verb “to return” found in such phrases as “buji ni kaeru” (to return safely) or “fuku ga kaeru” (fortune returns).
Tanuki Raccoon Dog
A lucky charm used to pray for success in business due to the word “tanuki” sounding like “ta wo nuku” meaning “to surpass others.”
The monkey is considered a lucky charm since its Japanese name is “saru,” which also sounds like the verb for “abandon” or “leave behind.” This has led to the animal symbolizing leaving misfortune and trouble behind.
Shishi Guardian Lion
A mythological animal based on a real lion. A symbol of bountiful harvests that also wards off evil.
The owl is considered a lucky charm since the Japanese word for “owl” is “fukuro,” which can be written phonetically using the Japanese kanji characters meaning “no hardships.”
Kirin (pictured above)
The kirin is a mythological animal with the head of a dragon, the body of a horse with scales, and an ox’s tail. It’s considered a lucky being bringing longevity, wealth, happiness, the prosperity of one’s descendants, and spiritual wisdom.
Komainu Guardian Dogs
Resembling the shishi, komainu guardian dog statues are often found guarding the entrances to Shinto shrines. They are said to ward off evil.
Shisa (pictured above)
A lucky charm from Okinawa said to ward off evil.
Akabeko Cow (pictured above)
A folk toy with a movable head from the Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture. A guardian of children, the akabeko cow is also said to bring its owner good luck.
Gold and Silver
Said to exorcise and ward off evil.
A lucky charm used to pray for tranquility, economic prosperity, and success in your personal and professional life.
A lucky charm said to purify evil energies, bring good luck, make wishes come true, and ward off evil.
A lucky charm used to exorcise and ward off evil, and to grant its user a long and healthy life.
Said to ward off evil.
Dice are considered lucky charms in Japan because however they roll, they will always “show a number,” a phrase that in Japanese also sounds like “to be lucky.”
Festival Bow and Arrow
Symbols of bountiful harvests.
Morijio Piles of Salt (pictured above)
Cones of salt placed by house gates or entrances are said to ward off evil.
Golden Mt. Fuji
A lucky charm used to pray for success in life and wealth.
“First, Mt. Fuji. Second, Hawks. Third, Eggplants”
It’s said that if you see Mt. Fuji, a hawk, and then an eggplant in your first dream of the new year, it will bring you good luck.
The rising sun brings with it Toshigami-sama, the god of the new year.
Below, we have listed 50 products that best represent all of the abovementioned Japanese lucky charms. Have a look and see if anything catches your eye!
50 Recommended Japanese Lucky Charms
1. The Black Daruma: Success in Business
Modeled after the legendary Buddhist monk Bodhidharma (“Daruma Daishi” in Japanese), the daruma doll has been considered a lucky charm in Japan since the Edo Period (1603 – 1868). The reason why it became a talisman with positive “engi” is because Bodhidharma promoted the idea of mastering one’s will and self-improvement.
The black version of the daruma doll is said to bring success in business and financial fortune. As such, it would make the perfect gift for someone deeply invested in corporate and financial matters.
2. The Kumade: Rake in Good Fortune
Small Kumade Rake for Financial Fortune and Good Luck (48 cm)
It’s said that the kumade rake became regarded as a lucky charm due to its resemblance to a bear’s paw or eagle’s talons. As eagles powerfully grab and never let go of their prey, the idea is that the kumade will help you do the same with good fortune. Another reason why the kumade is considered lucky is because it can help you “rake in good fortune.”
Each of these lucky charm kumade rakes are meticulously handcrafted by professional artisans using traditional techniques, making them fantastic, meaningful gifts!
3. Hagoita Paddles: Given to Girls and Women to Ward Off Evil
Osaka Choseido New Year Decoration Hagoita Paddle with Traditional Japanese Shuttlecock and Wooden Placard Included
The hagoita paddle game is a staple of Japanese New Year celebrations. By bouncing a shuttlecock between two players, it’s said that you’re repelling evil and bad energies, which is why these paddles have long been considered lucky charms. Hagoita are also said to be particularly effective in warding off evil from girls and women, who are the most common recipients of these talismans.
This particular hagoita paddle is a highly decorative rendition with a black stand. It’s both a popular gift in Japan and a powerful lucky charm.
4. The Morning Glory Lucky Charm: Pray for a Child’s Healthy Growth
Tokyodo Artificial Morning Glory Vine Orchid 7 cm Diameter x 85 cm Height
The morning glory flower is a popular lucky charm to pray for a child’s healthy growth. The flower matures quickly, which is what one hopes for another’s children when gifting them morning glories.
This particular morning glory set is a highly detailed artificial flower flaunting a craftsmanship rarely seen in similar products. It could be easily mistaken for the real thing and can go anywhere in the house. Because it is said to bring luck to children, many would be thrilled to receive it as a gift. With live flowers, you have to worry about things like import restrictions or watering, however, artificial flowers come with no extra work!
5. The Japanese Lantern Plant: Guides the Souls of Your Ancestors
Artificial Japanese Lantern Plant (Set of 5)
The Japanese lantern plant (also known as a winter cherry or “hozuki” in Japanese) is considered a lucky charm due to its association with the Obon holiday. Around mid-July or mid-August, Japanese people hold memorial services for the repose of their ancestors’ souls. During these Obon rites, the plants are used to symbolize lanterns guiding the spirits so they don’t get lost on the way from the afterlife. The plants are also believed to ward off evil.
This set of five artificial Japanese lantern plants are stylish and elegant, making them great interior decorations.
6. Maneki Neko: Attract Wealth and Customers
If the maneki neko (“beckoning cat”) is waving its right arm, it means it’s a male cat that attracts money. The ones waving their left arms are female and attract customers to a business. The history of these adorable figurines goes back to the Heian period (794 – 1185) and is connected with Kobo Daishi, the founder of the Shingon school of Buddhism and also known by the name of Kukai. According to legend, when Kukai locked himself away in a shrine to pray for the success of a construction project, a cat visited him, leading to the maneki neko figure being considered a lucky charm that “invites” good fortune into your home.
This particular figure is a traditional Edo kimekomi doll made with Nishijin-ori fabric. While most maneki neko are porcelain, this is made from wood and cloth, ensuring it is both light and durable. It’s also very versatile and would make a great gift for someone starting a new company or business.
7. The Seven Gods of Fortune: Bringing One Many Blessings
Seven Gods of Fortune Figures
Believed to bring good luck to all, the Seven Gods of Fortune are a group of Shinto and Buddhist deities. They include:
- Daikokuten: the god of bountiful harvests, family fortune, and the prosperity of one’s descendants.
- Bishamonten: the god of wealth and treasure.
- Ebisu: the god of prosperity and success in business.
- Jurojin: the god of longevity.
- Fukurokuju: the god of prosperity of one’s descendants, financial fortune, and longevity
- Benzaiten: the goddess of financial fortune.
- Hotei: the god of fortune and prosperity.
These figures are not attached to the board, so you can move them all around the house to improve feng shui. Because every god grants a different kind of good luck, they make perfect gifts for any and all occasions and show people that you care about their happiness and are thankful for them.
8. The Treasure Ship: Brings Luck to All Who See It During the First Dream Of the New Year
Good Luck Treasure Ship Figurine Made From Takaoka Copper (Gold Plated/24-Karat Gold)
While there are many theories as to why treasure ships are considered lucky in Japan, the most prevailing one is that the ship symbolizes the act of setting all your sins adrift and hoping that the same water will also bring treasure your way. A popular Japanese custom also says that by putting a picture of a treasure ship under your pillow on the night of January 2nd, your first dream of the new year will be pleasant and you will be granted good luck.
This particular treasure ship was painstakingly crafted by artisans specializing in Takaoka copperware, a designated traditional Japanese craft produced in Toyama Prefecture. The detail is extraordinarily intricate and the gold plating gives it an electrifying look sure to bring nothing but good fortune.
9. Hamaya: The Evil-Breaking Arrow
Hamaya Arrow Set (50 cm) with Tanzaku Paper Strip and Gold-and-Silver Bells
The “hamaya” arrow is said to ward off evil since its name literally means “the evil-breaking arrow.” It’s a beloved New Year’s lucky charm available at most shrines and temples. The talisman also frequently features during a baby boy’s first celebration of Children’s Day (May 5).
These hamaya arrows come in red and white (auspicious colors) and feature a pair of bells, making them great gifts for families seeking a lucky charm for their baby boy.
10. Mizuhiki Cord: Ward Off and Exorcise Evil
Maruai Disney Wedding Envelope for Special Occasions (Cinderella Design)
A mizuhiki cord signifies that a present or envelope is unopened and is said to ward off and exorcise evil. While there are numerous theories surrounding its origin, the most prevailing is connected with the figure of Ono no Imoko, a Japanese diplomat sent over as an envoy in the year 600 to China during the times of the Sui Dynasty (581 – 618). Upon his return, he brought back a Chinese envoy bearing a gift from the Sui emperor for the Japanese court. The present is said to have been secured with a red-and-white cord, which became the basis of the mizuhiki.
This mizuhiki cord envelope features a unique, one-of-a-kind design from Disney’s “Cinderella.” It makes the perfect present for special occasions like weddings.
11. Tsunodaru Cask: Appears During Joyous Celebrations
Tsunodaru Cask (with Special Gekkeikan "Nihonshu Kyoto-fu” Sake (1,800 ml))
The tsunodaru cask often makes appearances during joyous ceremonies like weddings or engagements. It’s characterized by the two horn-like handles on its sides from which it gets its name, with “tsunodaru” literally meaning “horned cask/barrel.” This lucky charm dates back to the Muromachi period (1336 – 1573) when it was a popular gift during auspicious occasions, a role it still fulfils to this day.
This tsunodaru comes with authentically brewed Japanese sake from Gekkeikan, a brewery established in Kyoto in 1637. Any fan of Japanese sake would be thrilled to receive this as a gift!
12. Heigushi Staff: Wards Off Evil and Brings Good Fortune to Households
Heigushi with Wooden Stand (Miyachu of Ise)
The origin of the heigushi staff as a lucky charm is likely connected to the “jotoshiki,” a “roof-laying ceremony” to celebrate a new house being built and pray for its safety. The ceremony included the raising of a ridgepole, which may be the basis of the heigushi. Today, the heigushi ceremony involves affixing the staff to the top of a hassokuan, an eight-legged table used in Shinto rituals, to pray for the safety and happiness of a household.
This particular heigushi staff is the work of Miyachu, a company that uses traditional crafting techniques of the “miyadaiku” carpenters specializing in the construction of Shinto shrines. It’s the perfect gift for those who have just finished building a new house and hope to live in it for years to come. It’s said that you get the best results with a heigushi if you place it facing south.
13. Katsuobushi: A Lucky Charm for Achieving Marital Bliss
Ninben Fresh Pack Premium Katsuobushi
The back part of a dried bonito is called the “male part,” while its belly is called the “female part” (pictured below). By coming together to create a whole, dried bonito came to be viewed as a talisman for achieving marital bliss.
This pack of premium katsuobushi is made by Ninben, a company started in 1679. Whether you’re looking for a great wedding gift or something to add a little flavor and luck to a child’s meal, then this is the product for you!
14. White-Haired Takasago Dolls: Symbols of Marital Bliss
Takasago dolls represent the idea of living together until you and your partner are both old and gray. A popular saying associated with the dolls is “until you’re 100 and I’m 99.” This is important since the Japanese word for “100” is “hyaku,” which is phonetically similar to the verb “haku,” meaning “to sweep.” Similarly, “until 99” is “kyu-ju-kyu made” in Japanese, of which the last part is similar to “kumade,” the Japanese word for rake explored above. That’s why the dolls are sometimes seen holding a rake and broom. Takasago dolls are generally used to pray for a long and happy life and are often given as wedding gifts.
These particular dolls are made by the veteran craftspeople from Kobayashi Ningyo of Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture, a workshop that specializes in high-quality, finely-detailed Takasago dolls. If you’re looking for a present for someone dear to you, look no further than these lucky charms.
15. Folding Fans: Lucky Charms Used to Pray for Prosperity
Folding fans are considered lucky charms in Japan because of their shape. They start out as an isosceles triangle and then expand, an act said to signify increasing prosperity. For this reason, it’s often given as a gift at weddings so that the couple’s happiness continues to grow.
This fan is a prime example of Edo-Sensu, a craft continued by just two artisans today. The face of the fan features a pattern known as a “sanja-ami,” which is based on the story of brothers fishing out a statue of the Sacred Kannon (the principal deity of Senso-ji Temple) from the Sumida River. It’s a design filled to the brim with good luck and is often used to celebrate a long life, new construction project, and more.
Related Product: ▶ Click here to browse more popular Edo Folding Fan items!
16. Shimenawa: Brings Luck in the New Year
Yamaichi Shoten Shimenawa New Year's Decoration 17x28cm (Domestic Japanese Straw)
Shimenawa rope is used to create a barrier between the everyday world of humans and the sanctified realm of the gods. By putting it up by the entrance to your house, you’re making preparations to welcome a better, happier new year. In Japan, the shimenawa usually goes up between December 26 and 30, with December 29 and 31 being considered unlucky days when it should be taken down. Simply put, there is no Japanese New Year without a shimenawa, so it’s important to buy yours as early as possible. While making great gifts, be sure to get them to the recipient on time!
This particular shimenawa was made by Yamaichi Shoten, a company specializing in New Year decorations since 1988. It’s 100% authentic while also being reasonably priced, making it the perfect gift.
17. Kadomatsu New Year Pine: Let the Gods Know Where You Live
Yamaichi Shoten Mini Crane and Tortoise Kadomatsu (15 x 8 x 6 cm)
The origin of the kadomatsu pine goes back to the Heian period (794 – 1185) tradition of pulling out young pine trees by the roots celebrated during the New Year by the Imperial court. Since then, pines have been used as signs pointing Toshigami-sama, the god of the new year, to your home, naturally becoming seen as lucky charms.
This set of mini kadomatsu pines is made by Yamaichi Shoten, the same company behind the previously mentioned shimenawa. You can use the pines just like the shimenawa, decorating both sides of your gate or entrance to welcome in a better, happier new year. It’s also why the kadomatsu pine is a popular gift in Japan.
Both the shimenawa and kadomatsu should be taken down on January 7 at the latest. After that, they should be burned during a “donto-yaki” event held on January 15 when lucky charms of all sorts are burned in a ceremonial fire. If you want to dispose of your lucky charms properly abroad, wrap them in white paper, sprinkle them with purifying salt, and throw them away while expressing your thanks.
18. Fukuwarai: Helps You Bring in a Happy New Year
CCINEE Fukuwarai New Year's Play Set Okame and Hyottoko Pattern (Set of 2 Pieces)
The origins of the fukuwarai game go back to the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) and are based around the idea of attracting good luck by laughing while someone tries to make a face from a paper nose, mouth, and other parts with their eyes closed. It’s mostly played during the New Year by small children, and because it’s also a lucky charm, it makes for the perfect family gift.
This particular fukuwarai game would be a welcome addition at any gathering with children, and is very reasonably priced to boot!
●How to Play Fukuwarai
With this particular product, you’ll find a picture of the correct, completed face printed in the lower right corner, however, you’ll have to try and put the eyes, nose, and mouth in the right places with your eyes closed. Other people can help guide you through it by saying things like “a little more to the right!” or “a little up!” Then again, they’re also allowed to give you wrong directions to create a funny-looking face! The point of the game isn’t to be perfect but to have fun and make people laugh!
19. Koma Spinning Top: Help Things Go Over Smoothly
Japan Handmade Traditional Koma (Small)
Spinning tops might be known as toys around the world, but in Japan, they are also considered lucky charms to help things go over smoothly. Between the Nara (710 – 794) and Heian (794 – 1185) periods, they were also used to tell fortunes. It’s said that if you play with a spinning top during the New Year, the next 12 months are going to be lucky!
This particular product is a koma spinning top with a traditional design made in Japan. Because it works as both a lucky charm and a toy, it’s the perfect gift for all sorts of people.
20. Hina Dolls: Pray for a Girl’s Healthy Growth
Kyugetsu Hina Dolls (Black, Comes with Case)
The tradition of the hina doll is the result of a convergence between the Doll's Festival (Hinamatsuri, March 3) and “hiina,” which were toys and other playthings meant for small children in old Japan. These lucky charms are also related to the dolls that aristocratic girls used to play with and are used to pray for a girl’s growth and happiness even now.
In the past, full-sized hina displays with seven tiers (shichidan-kazari) were the most popular. However, nowadays, due to changes in how people live, compact displays featuring just the lord and princess dolls (the “shinno-kazari” configuration) are the most common. This particular product is a shinno-kazari hina doll set made by Kyugetsu, a company founded in 1835. Being only 38 cm wide, it's very compact and easy to display anywhere in the house.
Hina dolls are displayed from around February 4 until March 3. They should then be put away as quickly as possible as it is said that the longer you wait, the longer it will take your daughter to get married. While most don’t pay attention to this nowadays, it's still a good idea to put the dolls away promptly.
21. Koinobori Carp Streamers: Symbols of Success in Life
Shukoh Doll Workshop Mini Koinobori Yuzen Dyed Carp Streamers (3 Colors)
The tradition of koinobori (“carp streamers”) started during the Edo period when the vigorous and tenacious carp came to represent success in life and wealth. Even today, families who want their sons to grow up strong, healthy, and successful put up these lucky charm decorations on Children’s Day (previously known as the Boys’ Festival), held on May 5. However, it’s also acceptable to put up the streamers between late March and mid-April, as long as the weather is nice. The koinobori should be taken down around mid-May during a clear day.
This koinobori set contains four dazzling carp streamers. While in the past you’d have needed a large pole set up in a garden to properly display koinobori, these days mini streamers that you can display on a small balcony are most popular. These koinobori by Shukoh are made from durable, water-proof material dyed using the Yuzen technique, which makes them a great choice for gifts.
22. Busho Ningyo Doll and Kabuto Helmet: Pray for a Child’s Safety
Children’s Day Kyugetsu Giant Stag Beetle-Style Kabuto Helmet (with Hexagonal Display Case)
Like the previously mentioned koinobori, the kabuto helmet is displayed in Japanese households during Children’s Day (previously known as the Boys’ Festival), held on May 5. Together with the Busho Ningyo dolls depicting fierce warriors, it was used in ceremonies praying for a child’s health and safety, which is how the helmet and the dolls became regarded as prominent lucky charms.
This particular kabuto helmet is made by Kyugetsu, who we introduced earlier. It’s an exceedingly high-quality helmet and the perfect gift to show someone you care about the safety of their child. The design of the helmet is both intricate and bold, making it appear larger than its compact size of 36 cm wide, 29 cm long, and 41.5 cm tall, making it very easy to display anywhere in the house. Kabuto helmets go on display between March 20 and mid-April, but unlike the Hina dolls, there isn’t any specific time you should take them down.
23. The Tai Sea Bream: Brimming with Good Fortune
Celebratory “Tai” Sea Bream Featuring the Seven Gods of Fortune
In Japan, red is considered an auspicious color, which is one of the reasons why the red-colored sea bream is viewed as a lucky charm. In addition, sea bream is called “tai” in Japanese, which shares an ending with the word “medetai,” meaning “happy” or “auspicious,” imbuing the humble fish with additional luck.
This particular Seto ware figure is bursting with good fortune as it includes both the lucky fish and the Seven Gods of Fortune. Simply place it near the door and wait for the good luck to naturally enter your house! It’s also the perfect gift for loved ones and those whose happiness matters to you.
24. The Spiny Lobster: A Beloved Symbol of Longevity
Food Sample Lobster (Large) by Japanese Artisans
Lobster, the king of gourmet food, is also regarded as a lucky charm and symbol of longevity in Japan due to its curved back resembling an old person. Additionally, lobsters turn red when boiled, a color that can ward off evil according to Japanese lore. Japanese people believe that eating spiny lobster during the New Year will bring luck in the upcoming months, so if you’re ever in an area known for lobster, definitely add it to your New Year menu!
This product is an intricate and extremely well-made model of a Japanese spiny lobster. Japan is well known for its realistic display models of food and this is clearly no exception! Use it as an interior decoration or a New Year’s gift.
25. The Crane and Tortoise: 1,000 and 10,000 Years
Wajima Lacquerware Chopsticks Couple Set (Black: 22.5 cm, Red: 20.5 cm) with Crane and Tortoise Chopstick Rests
The crane and tortoise have been considered symbols of longevity in Japan since ancient times, with the former said to represent 1,000 years and the latter 10,000 years. Even today, a gift featuring any of the two means that you wish the recipient a long and happy life.
This set of crane and tortoise chopsticks is a fine example of Wajima lacquerware from Ishikawa Prefecture, one of Japan’s most iconic lacquerware producing regions. They are called “meoto-bashi,” or “husband and wife chopsticks,” whereby one pair is a little shorter than the other. Each chopstick is meticulously detailed with images of a crane and tortoise and comes with corresponding crane and tortoise chopstick rests. These symbols of longevity would make the perfect gift for a special occasion like your parents’ anniversary.
26. Goldfish: Lucky Charms That Attract Wealth
[Arita Ware] Mini Goldfish Pair Figurines
Goldfish are beloved talismans because of their vivid red-and-white coloring, which is considered lucky in Japan. They not only help you attract wealth but also improve the flow of positive energy in the home, making them popular gifts.
This set of Arita ware figurines is a good alternative to keeping live goldfish, which require a lot of time and care. Additionally, because of their small size, they can be set up anywhere in the house, making them easy to use as an interior decoration.
27. The Koi Carp: A Symbol of Success in Life
Lucky Wall Scroll of Carp Ascending to the Dragon Gate Atop a Sacred Mountain
There’s a number of theories as to why koi carps are considered lucky in Japan, but the most prevailing one traces the origin back to China where the fish originate. Koi carps are one of the few fish that swim upstream, often against raging currents, so people started regarding them as symbols of overcoming adversity and success in life.
This hanging scroll depicts a koi ascending up a stream, which is a much better option than presenting someone with a live carp. The scroll also features the image of a red Mt. Fuji, making for a very auspicious combination. If you’re looking for a lucky charm gift, you can’t go wrong with this.
28. The Jewel Beetle: Attracting Good Fortune Your Way
OUFER 316L Surgical-Grade Steel 16G Helix Barbell Stud Piercing
The Japanese kanji character 玉, meaning “precious stone,” is used in the name of the jewel beetle, which is green and gold and sparkles with all colors of the rainbow and has been praised and treasured since ancient times. The multicolored glimmer is said to bring good fortune and success in love.
This sophisticated jewel beetle piercing naturally makes for a much better gift than a live insect! The magnificent coloring and auspicious elements will attract good fortune your way, making it the ideal gift for all sorts of occasions.
29. The Gold Scarab Beetle: Will Help You Amass a Fortune
gargle Gold Beetle Necklace
The gold scarab beetle has long been regarded as a lucky charm to improve financial fortune and attract money due to its golden coloring.
This gold beetle necklace is the work of “gargle,” an accessory company founded in 1997. Live insects make poor gifts, so this piece of jewelry is a good compromise if you want to attract money or help someone get richer.
30. The White Snake: Brings Plenty of Good Luck
Arita Ware White Snake (Large)
Snakes have been viewed as symbols of rebirth and the eternal lifeforce of the universe since ancient times, making it no surprise that their images are also lucky in Japan. White snakes are particularly powerful since they are worshiped as incarnations of the goddess Benzaiten, one of the aforementioned Seven Gods of Fortune. It is also said that by putting snake skin inside your wallet, it will help you amass a great fortune.
This product is an Arita ware white snake figurine that works to attract good fortune and money, making it a great gift. However, some people are afraid of reptiles, so if you’re planning on buying this for someone, make sure it won’t accidentally freak them out first!
31. Frogs: Return Good Fortune Back to You
Touri Shigaraki Ware Frog No. 2
Frogs are considered lucky charms in Japan due to “kaeru,” the Japanese word for frog, being a homophone of the verb “to return,” often found in such phrases as “okane ga kaeru” (money returns), “fuku ga kaeru” (fortune returns), or “buji ni kaeru” (to return safely). They’re also used to pray for the prosperity of one’s descendants, and because frogs can only jump forward, it’s said that their image brings good luck in one’s career.
This figurine is a beautiful example of Shigaraki ware, a designated traditional Japanese craft. The “2” in its name indicates its small size, as it is just 6 cm wide, 6 cm long, and 5.5 cm tall. If you’re looking for something bigger, these frogs by Touri go up all the way to #10. It also features a baby frog on its back, which is said to bring luck and wealth to the descendants of the owner, making it a popular gift.
32. Tanuki Lucky Charm: Helps You Surpass Others in Business
Shigaraki Ware Lucky Tanuki No. 8 with Handkerchief
The tanuki raccoon dog is a popular lucky charm used to pray for success in business. This comes from “tanuki” sounding like the phrase “ta wo nuku,” meaning “to surpass others,” in Japanese. This is why you can often spot statues and figures of tanuki in front of Japanese shops, and because tanuki are also symbols of good luck and success, items depicting them are often given as gifts.
This particular product is a Shigaraki ware tanuki figurine used to pray for success in business. It measures 20.5 cm wide, 15.5 cm long, and 26 cm tall, making it rather small and very easy to use as an interior decoration anywhere in the house, although it’s usually placed near the entrance. Larger versions are also available, so talk things over with the recipient beforehand to make sure you’re getting them the tanuki they require!
33. The Monkey Lucky Charm: Leave All Your Troubles Behind
Shigaraki Ware Hechimon Coarse Clay “See No Evil” Monkey Figurine
The monkey is considered a lucky charm because its Japanese name is “saru,” which also sounds like the verb “abandon” or “leave behind,” making the animal symbolize leaving misfortune and trouble behind. It’s also said to ward off evil, leading to monkey-themed items being popular gifts in Japan.
This monkey figurine is another fine example of Shigaraki ware made from coarse clay that feels very rustic and natural to the touch. It represents one of the Three Wise Monkeys from Japanese culture said to “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” Since this one is covering its eyes, it sees no evil and thus keeps it at bay. You can find many examples of the Three Wise Monkeys at the Nikko Toshogu shrine complex in Tochigi Prefecture, a designated World Heritage Site. Needless to say, gifting someone a live monkey would be quite the challenge, so this figurine is a nice, simple alternative. And because of its small size, it can be easily placed anywhere in the house and bring good fortune to its owner.
34. Shishi Guardian Lion: Protects You From Evil
Kutani Ware Shishi Guardian Lion with Dagger Figurine No. 6
The “shishi” can refer to either an actual lion or a mythical beast based on the real animal. Both can protect you from evil in Japanese culture, and, by using the power of feng shui, it can supposedly cleanse a house of negative energy and bring you good luck.
This colorful shishi figurine flaunts the exquisite art of Kutani ware, a designated traditional Japanese craft originating in Ishikawa Prefecture. It depicts a shishi guardian lion with a dagger in its mouth, and its magnificent craftsmanship is a true testament to the talents of the artisans who made it. The figure would make a great gift for someone starting a new business or seeking meaningful interior decorations for the office.
35. Owls: Know No Hardships
Good Luck Kutani Ware Owl Figurine Small Flower Pattern
In ancient Greece, owls were considered symbols of wisdom. In Japan, they’re seen as a lucky charm due to the Japanese word for owl being “fukuro,” which can be written phonetically using characters meaning “no hardships.” Additionally, since owls can see in the dark, they’re also a talisman bringing their owners success in business.
This cute Kutani ware owl figurine fits in the palm of your hand, allowing it to be placed anywhere in the house to remove negative energies while attracting good fortune. It’s the perfect gift for someone who could use a little more luck in their life.
36. The Sacred Kirin Beast: Brings All Sorts of Good Luck
Copper Kirin Figurines
The mythical beast known as the "kirin" originated in China and is said to be the most supreme animal on Earth, ruling over all the beasts of the land, air, and sea. Its image is also a lucky charm used to pray for longevity, wealth, and the prosperity of one’s descendants, among other good fortunes.
This pair of kirin figurines are made from copper and are perfect for use in feng shui to help prevent disasters and solve everyday problems. They make the perfect gift for someone you wish good fortune for in life!
37. The Sacred Komainu Guardian Dogs: Guarding You From Evil
Feng Shui Lucky Komainu Figurines (Gold, 8 cm)
The sacred guardian dogs known as komainu have long been considered talismans for warding off evil and bringing luck in Japan. There are many theories about their origins, with some even saying that they are descended from the Sphynx. These are the same dog statues that you can find at the entrance to Japanese shrines.
These small komainu figurines are gold-colored and designed to bring you good luck. They can be used for feng shui by placing them near the entrance to your home or on both sides of the door or gate where they will cleanse the air of negative energies. Make sure to explain how to use them when gifting them to someone.
38. Shisa: The Okinawan Protectors of Households
Asahitoki Workshop Shisa Figurine Couple Set
You can find shisa all over Okinawa where they are believed to protect households from dangers like fire and ward off evil. Though they look very similar to dogs, they are actually said to be lions.
This pair of male and female shisa figurines is made by the Asahitoki workshop of Okinawa, founded in 1974. They are rather large, being 18 cm wide, 12.5 cm long, and 15 cm tall. Shisa are popular gifts given to those hoping to succeed in business.
39. Akabeko Cow: The Protector of Children
Nozawa Mingei Aizu Hariko Akabeko No. 2
The akabeko cow is a popular Japanese folk toy originating in Aizu in Fukushima Prefecture. It is considered a protector of children and likely originated from the red cows used in rituals to purge plagues during the Heian period (794 – 1185). Today, it is also used to attract luck.
This akabeko cow is made by the artisans at the Nozawa Mingei folkcraft workshop using traditional techniques. Being compact, it’s easy to move and arrange and will watch over and protect your children.
40. Gold and Silver: Lucky Charms That Can Exorcise Evil
Shinjuku Ginnokura K18 White and Yellow Gold Piercings
Gold and silver have been considered lucky charms in Japan since ancient times due to their rarity, price, and apparent ability to exorcise evil. Today, the metals remain as precious as ever, but are now available in the form of convenient accessories and other wearable talismans.
This pair of somewhat large 18-karat solid gold piercings are made by Shinjuku Ginnokura, a Japanese jeweler specializing in silver and precious stones. Accessories that mix gold and silver are exceedingly rare, which is why the latter has been replaced here with white gold resembling pure silver and matching beautifully with the yellow gold. Being an exquisite, luxury item and lucky charm, they make the perfect gift for lovers of jewelry!
41. Amber: Lucky Charms to Help You Relax!
Free-Cut Amber K18 Gold Necklace
Amber, which is not actually a mineral but fossilized natural resin, has long been believed to contain natural life energy, helping people relax and bringing good luck. Amber charms are also said to help with money or work problems, making them particularly versatile talismans.
This one-of-a-kind free-cut amber necklace includes an exquisite chain made from 18-karat pure gold, further enhancing its lucky powers.
42. Crystal Talismans: Bringing Good Luck and Purifying Surroundings
Natural Stone Crystal Point in Wooden Tray 3-Piece Set
The word “crystal” is said to have originally meant “clear, transparent ice.” Because of their unique appearance, it has long been believed that spirits reside within crystals, giving them the ability to purify their surroundings.
This natural crystal set works both as a potent lucky charm and elegant interior decoration. The crushed bed of crystals resting upon a wooden tray are actually powerful Himalayan crystals, which not only brighten up the room but help cleanse it of evil energies and bring good fortunes your way. And because it’s easy to set up anywhere in the house, it makes for the perfect gift!
43. Coral: Wards Off Evil When Carried
Midway Coral White Cherry Blossom Pendant
It’s said that carrying coral around with you will help ward off and exorcise evil, with coral itself considered a symbol of good health and longevity since ancient times.
This “cherry blossom” pendant is made in Japan from natural, colorless (also referred to as “white”) coral from around the Midway Atoll. Besides protecting its wearer from evil, it’s also said to help with your fortune, making it a popular gift.
44. Pearls: Cleanse Yourself of Bad Luck and Attract Good Fortune
Jiyugaoka AMERI AAA Rank Pearl Shells
Oysters create pearls by forming protective layers around foreign substances inside their bodies to protect themselves, leading to the belief that they can protect from evil. Pearls are also a common component in expensive, luxury jewelry.
You can get these natural AAA-ranked pearl shells from Jiyugaoka AMERI, a jeweler specializing in precious stones located in the eponymous Jiyugaoka, an area of Tokyo known for its selection of luxury shops. The shells have actual pearls embedded in them, making them potent talismans, and thanks to their reasonable price, they make for the perfect gift to wish someone luck!
45. Dice: You’ll Be Rolling in Success
Natural Tiger's Eye Gemstone Dice
Dice have been considered lucky charms in Japan since ancient times. This is because however they roll, they will always “show a number,” which sounds like another phrase in Japanese meaning “to be on the way to success.” Today, many products feature die designs to bring people good fortune.
This particular dice is made from a gemstone known as “tiger’s eye,” which is said to be a power stone especially good at protecting its user from evil and bringing them good luck. If you gift this dice to someone, they will be on their way to success in no time!
46. The Arrow and Bow: Pray for Bountiful Harvests During Shinto Rituals
Hamayumi Bow and Arrow No. 15 Compact
Bows and arrows are often used in Japanese Shinto rituals to pray for a bountiful harvest and can be used in feng shui to improve the flow of positive energy in your home.
This bow and arrow set is designed to be both compact and elegant, allowing you to place it anywhere to add a touch of class and refinement to a space. The set also contains the fukutsuchi “magic hammer” (the gold ornament on the left in the picture above), which not only makes the set more powerful, but gives it an additional boost of Japanese flair. This is the perfect ornament for fans of traditional Japanese culture.
47. Morijio: Piles of Salt With Purifying Powers
Ise Miya Morijio Set (Small)
Morijio (“piles of salt”) have been used in Japanese Shinto rituals for centuries because of their amazing power to purify surroundings and ward off evil. By placing salt cones inside your home, you can similarly cleanse it of evil energies.
This morijio set is very easy to use even for beginners. It’s great for attracting good luck into your house through the power of feng shui, making it a popular present.
48. The Glorious Golden Mt. Fuji: Attract Wealth Your Way
Double-Walled Titanium Tumbler Featuring Golden Mt. Fuji in a Paulownia Box
The golden Mt. Fuji isn’t just a powerful symbol of elegance and luxury, it’s also a lucky charm that attracts good fortune and helps along success, making it a popular gift.
This golden Mt. Fuji tumbler is made from titanium produced in the city of Tsubame, Niigata Prefecture, which is one of Japan’s most renowned centers of metallurgy. The golden Mt. Fuji against the sky-blue background is absolutely gorgeous, while its double-layer design ensures perfect temperature control, keeping cold things cold and hot things hot. It’s one of the best tumblers money can buy, making it the ultimate present for beer lovers and the like.
49. “First, Mt. Fuji. Second, Hawks. Third, Eggplants:” A List of Things to Look For During the First Dream of the New Year
Wall Scroll with Mt. Fuji, a Hawk, and Eggplants
It’s said that the first dream of the new year (which in Japan means the one on the night of January 2) can bring good luck if you see Mt. Fuji, hawks, and eggplants. The reasons for this are as follows: “Fuji” sounds close to the word “fushi,” meaning “immortal” or “immortality.” Hawks fly “high” and thus symbolize the height of things. And finally, the Japanese word for “eggplant” is “nasu,” which sounds just like the verb “to achieve” or “to amass.” If you spot these three things in this order during your first dream of the new year, you will be blessed with good fortune for the next 12 months!
This beautiful hanging scroll features all three of the aforementioned lucky symbols, making it not only a potent lucky charm but also a fantastic way to furnish your home with Japanese flair, making it a great gift.
50. The Rising Sun From Atop a Mountain: Said to Bring Good Luck
“Goraiko” is the Japanese term for watching the sunrise from atop a mountain. It’s said that if you accomplish this on January 1, you will be visited by Toshigami-sama and enjoy good fortune over the next 12 months.
This set of postcards features the sun rising above the majestic Mt. Fuji, making for a thoughtful gift for a friend or someone close to you!
Give the Gift of Everlasting Happiness With These Japanese Lucky Charms!
Every one of the 50 lucky charms introduced bestows different kinds of good fortune on the owner, so we hope that our guide will help you choose the perfect talisman for someone important! Remember, everyone is different, so make sure to go with something that will make the recipient happy, which will, in turn, bring you equal joy. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.