Usokae Shinji Ritual


On Tuesday, January 14, 2017, Kameido Tenjinsha shrine in Koto Ward, Tokyo, Japan will celebrate its annual Usokae Shinji ritual. “Uso” means bullfinch and “kae” means exchange. In other words, a bullfinch exchange. Why a bullfinch? Because they are thought to bring good luck.


(Photo courtesy of

But “Uso” also means “lie,” which is the cool part of this festival. People bring the wooden bullfinches they bought last year and exchange them for new ones. So they are turning the bad luck of last year into “lies,” and bringing in good luck. So they sell a lot of these wooden bullfinches!

If you are in Tokyo, make sure to buy your bullfinch and wish for good luck this year!



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