New Year’s Visit to Katsuo-ji Temple with thousands of Daruma dolls in Japan


( Tet, or New Year, is a time when people pray for a new year full of luck and success. Visiting Katsuo-ji Temple, home to tens of thousands of Daruma dolls - a symbol of luck, is a wonderful way to start a new year.

Katsuo-ji Temple, located in Minoh City, north of Osaka, Japan, was built over 1100 years ago. Situated on a mountain and surrounded by forests and a lake, the entire temple area is dyed red by Momiji leaves in autumn.

Japanese people often buy Daruma dolls at the temple at the beginning of the year. They will paint one eye for Daruma when setting goals or making wishes. A monk will perform kaigen, a ritual to infuse the doll with a soul and blessings. The Daruma doll will be placed prominently in the house or office to remember their goals or wishes every day. When the wish comes true, they will paint the other eye and return it to the temple for the Daruma Kuyo doll-burning ceremony.

Katsuo-ji Temple is famous for displaying tens of thousands of Daruma dolls, attracting visitors from around the world every New Year.
Each Daruma doll is not just a meaningful gift but also a wish for luck embedded in every stroke.


Daruma dolls are a traditional Japanese doll, modeled after the appearance of Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Chinese Buddhism. These dolls are usually made of wood, round-shaped, painted red, with no arms or legs, hollow-eyed faces, and large black-lipped mouths. The eyebrows of the doll are shaped like a crane, and the lips are shaped like a turtle - two animals symbolizing longevity in Eastern culture.

Because Bodhidharma wore a red robe, traditional Daruma dolls are mostly red.


According to ancient documents, Daruma dolls originated in the middle of the Edo period, in 1783, during a famine in the Takasaki region, Gunma province. A high priest at the local Shorinzan Daruma-ji temple showed farmers how to make paper-mache dolls that they could sell during difficult economic times. Appearing at a time when the Japanese needed luck the most, these dolls became popular across the land of cherry blossoms.

Initially, Daruma dolls were created with good balance, no matter how they fell, they would return to their original position, like the Japanese proverb "fall seven times, get up eight." Over time, they became a symbol of recovery for internal strength and the strong will of the Japanese: even in the face of adversity, they would still rise strong.

Traditional Daruma dolls do not have eyes, and the word "Fortune" is often written on their belly as a kind of charm to ward off illness and misfortune.


You should start with a small Daruma and move on to larger dolls as your wishes gradually come true, as locals often do. If your wish comes true within a year, you should express that to Buddha at Katsuo-ji Temple.

In addition to red lucky Daruma dolls, they also come in other colors such as purple symbolizing wishes for health, yellow for desires of peace, gold for wealth, and white for prayers for love.

When you step into Katsuo-ji Temple, be sure to buy a Daruma doll to pray for luck in the new year!

According to Internet


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