Our next stop was Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Jinja (銭洗弁財天), or Zeniarai Benten (銭洗弁天). This shrine is famous for washing money. If you wash your money in the shrine’s spring and keep it as a lucky charm, you will have good luck with money. It’s the second most popular place in Kamakura. It’s a very interesting place. First of all, it’s almost completely surrounded by cliffs. Second, it has an interesting entrance, which you will see below. This shrine shows a fusion of Shinto and Buddhist features, which is also quite unusual. For a unique experience, it’s definitely a must see.
Being oshogatsu, a lot of people were visiting the shrine. We decided to go there to wash our money for luck in the new year, and also get fortunes. The shrine is located west of Kamakura station, past the city office and through a tunnel. There are signs giving directions.
The road to the shrine was busy with people.
Up the hill, we walked toward the entrance of the shrine.
The main entrance of Zeniarai Benten is unique. You have to go through a tunnel.
Once we emerged from the tunnel, a series of torii could be seen.
There were plenty of people there.
That's the main shrine. The cave entrance is near there, as well.
At this time, we went to do what we came for. We got some baskets to wash our money in, as well as incense sticks and candles. Then we just had to wait in line.
As we waited in line to wash our money, we could see another row of torii.
This is the basket we had to wash the money in. We also had a candle and incense sticks to light.
Many of the torii are wooden, but some are stone.
The shrine is surrounded by high cliffs on 3 sides. This maple tree still had red leaves, even in early January.
We approached the main shrine to pray, and then light our candles and incense sticks.
After our candles and incense sticks were lit, we went into the cave to wash our money. We had to pour water through the baskets that held our money.
The money has been washed! That US dollar was from out trip to Canada a year ago, but through the USA.
A look back into the cave, where we washed our money.
There were a few of these pits where incense sticks were burning. People were drying their money with the heat from the fire.
Now that we’ve washed out money, we have to keep them in our wallets and never spend them. They’re now lucky charms. We then bought some other charms and omikuji. When I looked at mine, I saw 大吉! That means very lucky! I guess I’m supposed to have a lucky year.
Zeniarai Benten was an interesting experience. I’ve been there twice before, but never tried washing my money. This time, I didn’t do any exploring, but instead experienced the shrine.
Next up is the final part of the Oshogatsu series! You’ll be seeing red!