All TopicsNewsCultureJapanese Snacks & CandyFood & DrinkTravelEntertainmentMember Spotlight
TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogGood Luck Japan: Best Charms for the New Year!

Good Luck Japan: Best Charms for the New Year!

Anna AyvazyanAnna Ayvazyan
Published Time
Posted on 
December 14, 2023
A bunch of charms that symbolize good luck in Japan.

New Year celebrations are one of the most exciting things to experience in Japan. During this time, families usually pray for good luck in the new year. Let’s look at how you can bring good luck to the new year in Japan!

What do people consider good luck in Japan?

Like in many cultures, luck is a mysterious concept attached to objects and experiences in our lives. Historically, in Japan, luck was strongly associated with temples and shrines, with different objects such as amulets being the manifestation of luck. Items seen as a manifestation of luck are sometimes called engimono (lucky items). The concept of engi comes from Buddhism, which is related to how everything is connected. 

A decorative hagoita paddle.
A hagoita paddle is for shuttlecock games on New Year’s! Image via Shutterstock

The term engi itself is an abbreviation of the Buddhist term inen seigi. In this concept, the en refers to the indirect bond between humans and deities, which can influence our fate. Based on this, the common phrases engi ga ii and engi wo katsugu emerged. Engi ga ii refers to something that signifies a good omen or good luck. Engi wo katsugu means to bring in good luck or to believe in superstitions. 

You usually hear those phrases when discussing what to buy for the new year. While engimono in modern times can refer to many types of objects, historically, it referred to items purchased on the first day of the year.

A bunch of blue omamori on sale.
Omamori are lucky amulets you can pick up at a shrine. Image via Shutterstock

It was believed that placing the engimono in engidana (good luck altar) would bring luck and prosperity to your house. The most common engimono placed in engidana were takarabune (treasure ships), maneki neko (beckoning cat), daruma dolls, and hamaya (good luck arrows).

Are you interested in enjoying some snacks for the New Year! Check out TokyoTreat! TokyoTreat sends Japan’s best Japanese snacks, drinks, and sweets to your door so you can enjoy the latest Japanese treats directly from Japan!

Top 3 Lucky Charms in Japan

If you visit Japan during the New Year, bring some engimono back to bring good luck to your home or your friend’s homes. This section will introduce the most common lucky charms you can buy in stores, shrines, and temples. 


Hamaya translated means demon-breaking arrow. These decorative arrows are only sold at shrines during the first few days of the new year. These arrows came about during the Edo period. During this period, it was customary to bring a decorative set of bows and arrows, referred to as hamayumi, for newborn boys. The purpose of the bow and arrow is to scare demons, ward off bad luck, and attract good luck. 

A bunch of devil's arrows (hamaya) a symbol of good luck in Japan.
The hamaya arrow is inspired by Buddhist mythology. Image via Shutterstock

Typically, hamayumi is displayed in a house in a kamidana (household altar) or on the wall. Some people place it in rooms where the family stays a lot of time, such as the living room, to help protect them. It is also expected to place them near the entrance of the house to quell bad luck entering the house. 

Daruma Doll

Daruma dolls are one of the most famous symbols of luck in Japan, and you can usually find them year-round in shops, shrines, and temples. The dolls are usually red and depict the Indian monk Bodhidharma. When you buy a daruma doll, the eyes are blank white. You fill in the left eye when you decide upon a wish or goal. You fill in the right eye when the goal or wish is achieved. 

A bunch of red daruma dolls on display.
Daruma dolls can help you achieve your goals! Image via Shutterstock

These dolls can be displayed in your house, but they are also given as gifts to friends and family. The daruma doll is mainly associated with perseverance when facing challenges. So, if you think you’ll have a challenging year, this is the perfect thing to buy to bring you good luck!

Maneki Neko

Maneki neko is one of the most commonly attributed Japanese symbols worldwide, sometimes called “lucky cat.” Internationally, it is commonly seen on Japanese restaurant storefronts. It is popular with stores because it is believed to “beckon customers” into shops. 

A maneki neko (good luck cat statue with its right paw raised).
Maneki neko is one of the most popular good-luck charms from Japan! Image via Shutterstock

It is also popular to buy the cat to bring good luck into the house. Different types of maneki neko exist; many have unique decorations to bring in specific wishes. Some cats have coins to symbolize money, koi or fish to symbolize fortune,  gemstones to symbolize wisdom, and drums to represent luck in business. The maneki neko is a great way to bring in luck in a cute way!


In addition to buying an engimono to help bring luck, it is common to go to shrines on the first day of the year to receive omikuji (good luck papers). Omikuji displays different types of luck, from extremely good to extremely little. The type of luck you get on the first visit to the shrine will reflect what type of year you will have. 

A bunch of omikuji (fortune papers) on a tree, a symbol of good luck in Japan.
If you end up with an unlucky fortune, you can tie it to a tree! Image via Shutterstock

Interestingly enough, some surveys show that the first visit’s omikuji’s luck is representative of the year to come. In one survey, 30-50% of respondents said they had the same luck as they had received on New Year’s. However, many people get their omikuji twice or thrice to get a better result (when the first result is little luck). 

If you visit Japan during the new year, shrines may be very busy, with people attending the shrine on the first day of the year (hatsumode). If you want to get omikuji, wait until after January 3rd to avoid the hatsumode lines and crowds. Some shrines also sell unique daruma dolls or maneki neko with omikuji. 

With every year that passes, new challenges arise. So it is best to have some lucky item by your side so that you can overcome it! Which engimono would you like to have in your house? Does your country have its type of engimono? Let us know in the comments below! 

Enjoy Delicious Japanese Candy And Snacks Every Month!

Enjoy Delicious Japanese Candy And Snacks Every Month!

Starting from $32.50 USD

Get TokyoTreat

Author avatar
Anna Ayvazyan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

A blue box of chocolates on White Day.

March 14th: Everything You Need to Know About White Day!

From the unique gift-giving customs to the returning expressions of love, let’s look into what sets White Day apart from Valentine’s Day.

January 25, 2024
Party snacks for the New Year.

Party Snacks for the New Year: Best Things to Try! 

It’s the New Year and time for some party snacks! From mochi to donuts, there’s so much to enjoy! Let’s check them out and see what’s in store for you!

January 20, 2024
New Years Japan at Osaka Castle.

New Years Japan: Everything You Need to Know!

During New Years in Japan, people celebrate in many different ways! Let’s see how Japan celebrates the new year!

January 05, 2024
The rainbow Bridge in Odaiba during Christmas in Japan.

The Ultimate Holiday Season Guide for Japan!

Christmas in Japan is one of the most incredible holidays you’ll ever experience, and New Year’s is not too far off! Here’s the ultimate guide about enjoying the season!

December 23, 2023
A Shimekazari New Year's wreath. Some people may use it as a decoration on a lucky bag.

Celebrate New Year’s the Japanese Way!

It’s time to step into a Japanese New Year, or “Oshogatsu”! From the lucky bag to amazing parties, there’s much to enjoy!

December 21, 2023
A fireworks show near Odaiba, a way to ring the bell in the new year!

Ring the Bell: Fun Things to Do for the New Year!

As the year ends, it’s time to ring the bell for a fresh start and welcome the New Year! Let’s explore the exciting ways Japan embraces this holiday!

December 19, 2023
PricingBeginner’s Guide to TokyoTreatUpcoming BoxPast boxes
Support & Information
FAQContactHelp CenterBlog

Be a TokyoTreat Insider!

Join our newsletter and receive tasty news and deals!

AnIchigo Logobrand.
Copyright © 2024 TokyoTreat™. All Rights Reserved.
Accepted Payments
Visa payment availableMastercard payment availableAmerican Express payment availableDiscover payment availablePayPal payment available