Our reporter makes a long journey in the hope that some divine intervention will help her score tickets to her favorite idols’ concert this year.

In Japan, demand often surpasses the number of tickets available for many of the country’s most popular musical acts (think of Taylor Swift’s latest The Eras Tour in the U.S.). A common solution to ensure that everyone has an equal shot at scoring a seat is for tickets to be offered via a lottery-based system in which would-be attendees enter their names in the hope that they’ll be randomly selected.

While that approach ensures fairness, it can also be an incredibly painful reason to miss out on your favorite shows. Our Japanese-language reporter Maro is someone who knows all too well the bitterness of not being selected in the lottery system when she didn’t win tickets to see her favorite idol group last year. Therefore, when the group recently announced a new nationwide tour, she was excited but also a little anxious. What if the same thing happened to her again and she missed out two years in a row? She decided that a little bit of extra luck wouldn’t hurt this time, so she traveled from her home in Shizuoka Prefecture all the way to Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district to ask for some divine oversight at Japan’s veritable “Idol Shrine.”

Fukutoku Jinja, originally founded around 865, is the actual name of this Shinto shrine known today as a power spot for praying to win the lottery, money, or concert tickets. As we’ve previously covered, it was one of the few shrines officially allowed to sell lottery tickets by the shogunate during the Edo period (1603-1867), and since then has become uniquely famous for anyone who wishes to win big.

The shrine is located right in the middle of Tokyo’s swank Nihonbashi business district within an area surrounded by the Coredo Muromachi shopping complex. It seems like this little green oasis should feel very out of place among the surrounding tall office buildings, but there’s something about it that actually blends right in on the edge of a storefront outfitted in traditional architecture and lanterns that softly illuminate the ground at night. Regardless, its vermillion torii gate against the backdrop of modern buildings certainly seems to signal a threshold to another enchanted world.

Maro visited on a Sunday when there was a considerable amount of visitors, but the line moved smoothly. While waiting for her turn in front of the main shrine, she gathered her thoughts about what exactly to say in her prayer to the enshrined kami here, Ukanomitama (associated with agriculture):

“Please let me score concert tickets.”
“An arena seat would be nice.”
“If possible, let me win tickets to multiple performance dates.”
“While I’m at it, it would be nice to win the lottery, too…”

She wondered if all of that was getting too greedy. After all, Ukanomitama must get tired of hearing these kinds of wishes all day long…

In any case, she successfully made her plea when it was her turn and then stepped over to the shrine counter on the side to purchase an omamori, or good-luck amulet, to take with her. Hopefully it would also strengthen her case.

Fukutoku Shrine offers a variety of omamori for 500 yen (US$3.55) each, but she had her sights set on the particular gold-colored one called tomikuji-mamori (富籤守), which is specifically meant to grant good luck for winning the lottery, tickets, or other monetary endeavors.

▼ Tomikuji-mamori, second from the left in the top row

It was definitely a super popular one among the shrine visitors. She appreciated how it glittered in the sunlight.

Another interesting service that the shrine offers is for the shrine workers to pray on someone’s behalf for them to win whatever they’re seeking. A prior reservation is required, so Maro gave up on it on this particular day. Depending on how her ticket lottery results turn out this year, however, she would definitely keep it in mind for the future.

At this point Maro’s prayer is out of her hands and in the care of the kami, and there’s nothing she can do but wait until the lottery results are announced. She hopes that her wishes will come true this year as a result of her extra efforts.

I’ve just entered the lottery for Ayumi Hamasaki’s 25th anniversary tour concert tickets myself in the past week, so I’ll certainly be holding on tightly to my own tomikuji-mamori that I purchased last year at Fukutoku Shrine. In the worse case scenario that I don’t score them, at least I can console myself by listening to one of her earliest hits that will be playing nonstop at McDonald’s this season.

Shrine information
Fukutoku Jinja Mebuki Inari / 福徳神社 芽吹稲荷
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Muromachi 2-4-14
東京都中央区日本橋室町 2-4-14

All images © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

[ Read in Japanese ]