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Baby Wishes at Rokusho

A lot of ema (絵馬), or wishing plaques, along the main shrine at Rokusho Shrine. These are super common to see at shrines. They are a relatively popular way to wish for stuff. Sometimes the ema comes blank and you can fill it in however you wish, and sometimes it comes with a pre-written message which people usually add to with their own message on the back.

Rokusho Shrine is the place where Tokugawa Ieyasu was consecrated as a baby. I suppose because of that connection, this shrine is considered a good place for women to pray for easy childbirth and strong healthy children, hence the children pictured on the ema.

An interesting fact about the shrine: Only daimyo (regional lords) who controlled more than 50,000 koku were allowed to climb the steps to the shrine and enter the main area. A koku was considered the amount of rice needed to feed one person for a year, about five bushels. 50,000 koku was not a huge amount, but it did mean some of the lesser daimyo weren’t allowed in, as well as no one else (certainly not commoners).

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