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絵馬 ~How to Write Ema?~

絵馬 ~How to Write Ema?~

Jun 04, 2018 Tags 

How many of you know about Ema? Have you saw many wooden bords hunged in shrines or temples in Japan?
Well, that wooden boards are Ema! There are some rules when you write the Ema, so let's learn that✎

・What is Ema?

Originally, horses were considered as sacred vehicle of the god for a long time, and the aristocrats were contributing horses as a gift when they make a wish. However, most of the people cannot contribute a horse like aristocrats of course. Therefore, from Nara era (701~794), the custom contribute a wooden boards with picture of horse spread among the people in Japan. And now, we write our wish on a wooden plaques, which is Ema, and contribute it.

The word “Ema (絵馬)” comes from itself, “E (絵)” means “picture” or “drawing” and “Ma (馬)” means “horse”.

・How to Write Ema?

1. Buy Ema at the shrine office after visiting main shrine building.

2. Write your wish on the back side of Ema. Back side is the side there are no drawing of horse! It will be better if you can write your wish in details, and also we will prefer using ink pen to avoid your wishes fade.  

3. Write your name (only initial of your name is fine too!) and your age so that the god can know the wish is yours. Some shrines and temples determine what you should write on Ema, such as date of birth and address. You do not have to write in Japanese but here are some useful examples of wishes in Kanji:

If you want to recover from your illness: 病気平癒

If you are in an unlucky year: 厄除

If you want to marry: 良縁成就

If you want to wish for easy delivery of a baby: 安産

If you want to wish for safe trip: 旅行安全

If you want to wish for safe drive: 交通安全

If you have any wish you cannot express in the words: 心願成就

4. After you finish writing your Ema, hang it on display near you. Then, dedication is all completed so just try hard and wait till your wish comes true!!

・Unique Ema

As we explained, usually Ema is a wooden plaques which have picture of horse on it. However, there are some unique Ema in some shrines!

1. Mirror Ema (鏡絵馬: Kagami Ema)

Location: Kawai Shrine (Kyoto)

What to wish: Beauty

Kawai Shrine is located next to Shimogamo Shrine, one of the world heritage site in Kyoto. The god enshrined in this shrine is a god of beaty and also a guardian of women. Therefore, Kawai shrine is known as power spot of beauty among ladies✨   

Mirror Ema is a ema which you can draw the face you want to become. There are two kinds of ema, one has already have a face on it and other is plain one. Make sure to choose plain one if you want to draw a face by yourself.

The most interesting point of this Mirror Ema is “make up the Ema to the face you want to be”!! You can makeup your Ema with your own makeup tools. If you do not have own tools, do not worry! There are some color pencils, crayons, and lipstick you can use to draw your Ema’s face💄

2. Heart Shaped Ema

Location:Sanko Inari Shrine (Inuyama city, Aichi)

What to wish: 男女良縁、家内円満、夫婦和合

Sanko Inari Shrine is located near Inuyama castle in Aichi prefecture. Heart shaped Ema is one of the popular things in this shirine. At the centre of pink heart shaped Ema, is says “縁”(E-n), which means “relationship” in Japanese. A lot of ladies, couple, and families come to this Shrine to wish their good relationship:)


How was this blog? Was there any findings or interesting things for you?

There is a Ema sticky notes in June stationery pack! Why don’t you make your own Ema or make one for your friends/family to make your wish come true?
Check our site to get Ema sticky note!!