It just wouldn’t be a trip to Kyoto without an automated fortune telling.

One common but often overlooked fixture of the Japanese urban landscape are fortune tellers and palm readers, often found in commercial areas and facilities. They are usually very simple in design but their sheer numbers suggest that there is a rather large demand for them in Japan.

Ordinarily it’s not the kind of thing our ace reporter Mr. Sato gets into, but during his recent trip to Kyoto he found one so unique that he had to dive into the realm of alternative physiology.

Mr. Sato was hanging out outside of Kyoto Station when he saw the majesty of Kyoto Tower standing more than 100 meters (328 feet) over the city. Since he had some time to kill before his train left, he headed over to check it out.

The tower itself stood on top of a hotel, but tickets could be bought in a sales office on the ground floor: 700 yen (US$6.15) for adults, 620 yen ($5.44) for high school students, and 520 yen ($4.57) for junior high students and younger.

He had to take one elevator to get to the top of the hotel, and then get into a different, triangle-shaped, elevator up to the observation deck.

It only took about a minute and then Mr. Sato was treated to a clear 360-degree view of Kyoto. He heard that it’s possible to see the Abeno Harukas building in Osaka, but that day it was too cloudy to know for sure.

Either way, he was far more impressed with the view of the Buddhist temple Higashi Honganji directly below than he would have been at some distant building.

Satisfied with his brief sightseeing trip, Mr. Sato took the elevator back down. As he exited, he noticed a small palm reading booth set up near the elevator doors. He was about to pay it no mind when he noticed something else.

Written in Japanese and English a poster explained that they offered “Computer Palmistry” for a low price of 300 yen (US$2.63). Intrigued by the concept, and the reasonable price, Mr. Sato took the plunge and told the lady at the counter, “One computer palm reading, please.”

The woman instructed him to place his hand on a glass square on the table. Mr. Sato thought that with his triglyceride levels and nuclear war on the horizon, there may not be that much of a future ahead of him. Still, it’d be nice to know how the next few months would pan out for him.

Suddenly a bright flash of light went off. Mr. Sato remembered that type of light from his days of Xeroxing his own face in junior high, and realized that his hand was resting on a photocopier. That must be how the computer analyses his palm.

Then a whirring sound could be heard for a moment before the woman handed him his report. Oddly it was written entirely in katakana script.

Even for the talented writer, gifted in the Japanese language that Mr. Sato is, this paper was incredibly hard to read. If you’d like to put your own Japanese ability to the test, give it a read!

Here is the gist of it:

“You are a balanced individual who shows talent in all aspects of your life. You are rich in popularity, personality, and common sense. People, whether superiors or subordinates, trust you. You tend to be set in your ways, but you are the type of person who steadily gains luck when you’re ambitious.
There are many sides to human nature and a lot of them are good in people, but you seem to be easily deceived by easily believing things. Especially, you should be careful on matters of money. Because you are a prudent person, if you cultivate a slightly more risk-taking spirit then your luck will improve. Your luck is strong, but the luck is shaped through your efforts.”

The message of “easily decieved in matters of money” warning didn’t bode well for the 1,000 yen ($8.78) Mr. Sato had “invested” in the wealth-granting Mikane Shrine a day earlier.

He was all set to go when suddenly the woman at the counter took his hand and began reading it. He thought this was an unexpected little bit of extra-service, but was the eye-straining computer stuff really necessary then?

She then told him that he would live to be 70 years old. Even though that’s about 10 years lower than the national average, Mr. Sato interpreted it as good news. And now armed with the knowledge on how to gain luck, he was ready to go back to Tokyo and take on the world.

Fortune teller information
Teso No Shinpi / 手相の神秘
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Shimogyo-ku, Higashishiokouji-cho 721-1, Karasumi Dori, Shichijo-kudaru
Located on the top floor of the hotel near the elevators.

Photos: SoraNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]