Why do they wash coins at a shrine in Japan?

JJ (Japanese Blogger)
2 min readDec 13, 2020

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As we know, there are interesting customs in all the world. When we travel other countries, looking at or experiencing those customs is one of purposes for traveling. In this blog, I would like to introduce a interesting custom known at a specific location of Japan.

There are famous cities in Japan for foreign travelers. Although Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara are very popular, there is one more city which should not be forgotten. That is Kamakura city. Kamakura is the city which was a capital one in 1200. A general at that time, Yoritomo, started politics in Kamakura, and it continued for about 150 years. That is the reason why there is a lot of shrines and templesin this area.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamakura

Among many shrines, one shrine has a very interesting spot, which is named as “Zeni-Arai-Benten”. Many travelers being regardless of naitional and international visit this shrine bacause of its exotic atomosphere and the extence of feature.

The entrance of this shrine is made of big rock. A hole hollowed out rock continues to the shrine. Anybody can have mysterious feeling when they pass through the hole. Another feature is the main topic of this blog. That is to wash coins!!

I think, you must say why doing is necesary. Your response is just natural. Washing coins is very strange and is not common also in Japan. However, there is a reason of washing coins. At first, it needs to explain what the name of this shrine, “Zeni-Arai-Benten”, means. this name is translated into English, it is “God of Washing coins”. Understandign from the name, washing coins is important for this shrine. One more thing, it has been said that using the coins washed by fresh water in this shrine would take wealth. So, this is very popular for travelers and they visitng this shrine always wash their coins.

This year, all travels have been stopped due to corona virus. When the pandemic will be gone and travel to Japan will be allowed again, please choose Kamakura in your ittinerary and enjoy washing your coins!!

Thanks, JJ

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JJ (Japanese Blogger)

I was born in Japan, and I’m working in Japan. My interest things are statistics, health and Japanese culture. I post news about Japan for travelers.