Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine is a shrine in Kamakura famous for granting wealth. Minamotono Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura period, founded the shrine and dedicated it to Ugaijin after discovering spring water gushing from a rock following a dream in the year 1185.
Later, in 1257, Hojo Tokiyori washed some coins with the spiritual water then suddenly, the Hojo family began to flourish. It is believed that this is the origin of the coin washing tradition at this shrine.
Ugafuku Shrine can be found on the way Genjiyama Park. Entering the main gate, called torii, there is a long cave that leads you to the shrine with its very unique atmosphere. You should buy a bundle of incense sticks from the reception and collect a small colander to wash money. Washing the money with spiritual water in the rear shrine, called Okumiya, will grant you great wealth and fortune.
After washing the money, it is believed that you should spend it so that it grants even more money for you. This tradition of washing money is extremely popular so Ugafuku is often busy, even on weekdays. It is especially busy during the new year season when a great many people come to pray for wealth in the coming year. The queue at this time can be extremely long so it can take a while as everyone takes their turn to perform the ritual.
There are two further shrines nearby that are also worth visiting. Sasuke Inari Shrine has many red torii gates leading to the main hall and a very spiritual atmosphere. Kuzuharaoka Shrine is very popular among young girls who wish to pray for luck in love.
Ugafuku Shrine is about a 20 minute walk from JR Kamakura station and it is suitable hiking course for all ages.
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