January 21, 2010
What Do You Wish?
Another trip down to Tokorozawa Shrine. This is called an 'Ema (絵馬),' which translates to something like 'Picture of Horse.' It's a wooden plate you can get at a shrine to write your wish or prayer.
People tell me this tradition started in the olden days when the Shinto believers would offer a horse to their god. But as horses were hard to come by, and also expensive to raise, the offerings gradually changed to horse sculptures made of clay and other horse related offerings, and somtime during the Heian Era they became what we use now, a wooden plate with a drawing of a horse on it.
As you can see, the drawing on the wooden plates have changed, too. Some are of foxes or birds, depending on the shrine. This particular one in the photo is of an arrow hitting the target. Can you guess what this person is wishing for?