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Ema, Kiganbun

Ema
An Ema is a wooden tablet onto which wishes may be written. Such tablets can be obtained at the Juyosho (amulet offices). There are two main types of Ema: Kigan-Ema, which bear the crest of the shrine on their front and the word Kigan on their back, and Eto-Ema, which are depicting this year's Eto (zodiac).
Camphor tree and Ema
(Photo: Camphor tree and Ema)


People either take such tablets home or hang them at one of the hooks provided (usually you will find them at around the camphor tree on the Eastern side in front of the main shrine building, but around New Year, there are hooks in various places).

Close to those hooks, you will find tables and pens to write wishes or thanks onto the tablets. You may write in any language.



Kiganbun
A Kiganbun is a letter to the deities. It may contain wishes or words of gratitude, and it may be written in any language.
Kiganbun
(Photo: Writing a Kiganbun)


Usually, the letter is put into an envelope together with a monetary offering of any amount, and the envelope put into the offertory box provided. Paper, pens, and envelopes can be found in the vicinity of that offertory box (usually close to the big camphor tree on the Eastern side in front of the main shrine building, but around New Year, there are several locations for writing such letters).