With blessed money and a blessed wallet, is Mai about to strike it rich?

Our reporter Mai recently took a super budget-friendly trip to Kyoto, paying less than 2,000 yen (US$18.50) for the room for the night she spent in Japan’s cultural capital. However, thrifty accommodations weren’t Mai’s only plan for bolstering her financial situation while she was there.

As part of her travel itinerary, Mai stopped by Kyoto’s Mikane Shrine, which was founded over a century ago, in 1883. But it wasn’t the shrine’s historical significance that had drawn her, but its purported connection to wealth and monetary prosperity.

Basically, Mikane Shrine is supposed to be able to make you rich. Even the kanji characters for Mikane, 御金, can alternately be read as “okane,” the Japanese word for “money.”

So Mai strode confidently through the glistening gold-colored torii gate and onto the compact grounds of the shrine itself. She soon spotted a stack of wicker baskets, into which visitors place bills and coins which you then wash with water from a basin, in order to purify them and grant you good luck in monetary matters.

But the main reason Mai had come to Mikane Shrine was in order to purchase a fukusaifu, which is sold at a counter where the shrine offers various Shinto amulets and protection charms.

Fukusaifu translates to “prosperous wallet,” and sure enough, it’s a wallet that’s been blessed by the shrine. It’s said that the money you put inside will multiply, so after Mai purchased one for 1,000 yen (US$9.30) she immediately put the money she’d washed in the shrine’s waters into her fukusaifu.

We should mention that Mikane Shrine doesn’t just have a reputation for granting success in your career and investment ventures. It’s said that it also boosts your luck for potentially quicker routes to riches such as gambling. As a matter of fact, Mai found a number of people online who said that they after they bought lottery tickets and put them in their fukusaifu, the tickets turned out to be winners, so now that she had a fukusaifu of her own, her next stop was the nearest lotto ticket stand.

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For 2,000 yen, Mai bought 10 scratcher tickets, which she tucked into her wallet and kept there until she got home. Once there, she pulled out the tickets, plus a five-yen coin she’d washed at Mikane Shrine.

▼ Five-yen coins in general are supposed to be lucky in Japan, since the Japanese words for “five yen,” go en, sound just like goen, meaning “good fortune.”

The tickets Mai picked up happened to be One Piece-themed, and the pirate motif extends to the symbols that tell you if the ticket is a winner or not. You scratch off all nine boxes, and if you get four or more round pirate face marks, you win, with more pirate faces equaling a bigger prize, topping out at 100,000 yen for nine winning marks. Conversely, the boxes that contain skulls and crossbones don’t do you any good at all.

Our reporter got off to a slow start, as her first ticket had only three circular pirate marks, placing it just below the payout line,

Things didn’t go any better with tickets two through four, but on the fifth…

Mai hit four winning marks in the first six boxes!

With a 200-yen payout already guaranteed, she still ha three boxes to go, and to multiply her luck to the max, she decided to scratch off the remaining spaces while placing the ticket atop her fukusaifu

…a tactic which rewarded her with one more winning mark for a total of five, worth 1,000 yen.

Mai ended up with two winning tickets out of the ten she’d bought, the second one a 200-yen four-mark.

Put it all together, and Mai’s winnings came to 1,200 yen, which, when judged against her 2,000-yen lottery ticket investment, is an 800-yen loss. So does this mean that the fukusaifu was worthless?

Not necessarily. Remember, the SoraNews24 staff isn’t exactly known for their gambling success. Our last two lottery ticket experiments ended with losses of 634,800 yen and 496.200 yen. By that metric, Mai’s modest 800-yen loss,  makes her SoraNews24’s goddess of gamblers, or at least a high-ranking sorceress (and the results hold up as percentages, too, as Mai’s 40-percent loss is far below the 63.4-percent and 49.6-percent losses of the other trials).

Plus, Mai says that a few days after coming back from Kyoto, she went to a pachinko parlor and hit a 100,000-yen jackpot, so she thinks there may be some sort of time-delay involved with Mikane Shrine’s fukusaifu. Oh, but speaking of time, like most Shinto shrine good-luck charms, the special wallets are only said to be effective for one year, after which she’ll have to return to the shrine to buy another, or go back to old-fashioned hard work at her job that occasionally requires her to eat sparrows.

Shrine information
Mikane Shrine / 御金神社
Address: Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Nishitoin-dori Oikeagaru Oshinishitoincho 614
京都府京都市中京区西洞院通御池上ル押西洞院町614

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