#shrinehoppers adventurer’s toolkit

A Lifehacker post about how to prepare for a natural disaster gave me the kick in the pants to do something that I should have done a long time ago: I made an earthquake kit. Tokyo’s  a beautiful city, but it could collapse at any moment and it’s best to be prepared.

On a happier note, here’s my “#shrinehoppers adventurer’s toolkit.”


Here it is, all taken out of it’s waterproof plastic bag and displayed on my charming grey carpet. The informational pamphlets are given to you when you have your book signed, and the map was a gift from my fellow shrinehopper, Koji, who got it from a miko at a shrine near my apartment.

In addition to my 御朱印長, shrine book, I always keep a stash of ¥5 coins for offering at shrines; the aforementioned map; and a mechanical pencil to record the names of the shrines in English. I have a hard time reading kanji, especially when you get beautiful (but difficult to read) signatures like this one from Sensoji Temple in Asakusa.

Sensoji Temple

I mean, really. What? This is one of my favorite signatures in my book so far, but it’s difficult for me to read. Anna has miraculous kanji skills and an incredible memory, so she just knows where each signature is from (and she has a lot of signatures, let me tell you), and Koji uses sticky notes, but I write in pencil on the corner of the page, just in case.

My Shinto book (soon to be books, hooray!) and research notebook stay at home, but I included them in my toolkit picture because research is becoming part of the #shrinehoppers experience. I’m no longer content with just seeing the sights: I want to understand them.

Hikawa Shrine Protective Charm

Kameido Tenjin Shrine Protective Charm

The last piece of my toolkit is a charm on my trusty bike. My first charm (left) was from Hikawa Shrine in Omiya, but it’s in pretty rough shape from the wind and the rain and protecting me while I bike around – on adventures and errands alike – so I’ll need to return there in order to get a signature for my book, and to leave the old charm there to be ceremonially burned. (I really should have done this before New Year.)

The new bike charm was purchased the other day when I walked to Kameido Tenjin Shrine in the snow. I figured I deserved a reward for that trek, and what better than a charm to protect me while I go out on more adventures?


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