Ema Votive Plates from Around Japan
One of the fun things to do at New Year’s in Tokyo is to visit Yasukuni shrine and check out their gallery of ema (votive plates) gathered from all major shrines around the country, there are hundreds of them! Recently (I think) they have also started displaying the labels of Japanese sake (rice wine) makers, dozens of them. There is such a huge variety in ema, some are traditional and rarely change over the years others have a new design every year, mostly in accordance with the zodiac sign of the year. Not all ema have the same size and not all are made by wood. There are big ones and small ones, metal, wood, plastic and even glass ema. To see so many different ema you’d have to spend a fortune to travel around Japan but here it is all conveniently gathered in one spot for all to see. Here’s a token few that I photographed, out of the hundreds on display. If you’re very curious about where they are from the file name of the photo gives the prefecture: there’s ema from Aichi, Saga, Iwate, Tochigi, Kagoshima and a couple from Hyogo and Wakayama each.