Tag Archives: Buddhist temple

New project: Free documents to support Japanese people welcoming foreigners

I am preparing Inner Japan Web pages and printable PDF documents to support Japanese people welcoming foreign visitors in Japan: staff at ports and airports, train/subway stations, bus/ferry terminals, taxi companies, hotels and ryokans, homes and B&Bs, restaurants and bars, coffee shops and teahouses, convenience stores, supermarkets, departments stores, souvenir/gift shops, specialist shops, temples and shrines, museums and galleries, movie theatres, police stations, hospitals… Foreigners’ life, work and travel in Japan should become easier and more enjoyable :)

To start, I am listing sentences in Japanese, English and French to use at souvenir/gift shops and restaurants. The PDF documents will be available online for free on the “Welcome foreigners!” project page of Inner Japan Website.

If you wish to promote Japan, its culture or local events/activities, You are welcome to contact me to discuss the next steps of this new project!

Shoemaker, family & lover: touching prayers on votive plaques at Kencho-ji (Kamakura)

Read these silent prayers written on light wooden votive plaques “Ema” dancing with the wind this afternoon at the top of Kencho-ji Buddhist temple in Kamakura city, just beyond the stairs guarded by the statue of a tengu and numerous statues of karasu-tengu…

Prayer in Japanese: “くつやさんになれますように。” i.e. “May I become a shoemaker (shoe seller?).”, written in simple hiragana alphabet instead of difficult Chinese characters and signed by a young (?) Japanese boy.
Votive plaque with a prayer in Japanese to become a shoemaker at 建長寺 (Kencho-ji, Kamakura, Japan) on 04 May 2014.

Prayer in English: “My hope for 2014 is that my family and friends stay strong and healthy. I hope the woman I love finds happiness and learns to love again.” written by an anonymous foreigner (?).
Votive plaque with a prayer in English for family, friends and lover at 建長寺 (Kencho-ji, Kamakura, Japan) on 04 May 2014.

Many other wishes were written on votive plaques decorated with a mythical tengu in blue robes holding a staff or with a Migawari-jizo-son (Jizo taking one’s pain and suffering in one’s stead).
Votive plaques decorated with a 身代り地蔵尊 (Migawari-jizo-son) and 天狗 (tengu) at 建長寺 (Kencho-ji, Kamakura, Japan) on 04 May 2014.

May these touching/heart-warming wishes come true…
Votive plaque decorated with a 天狗 (tengu) at 建長寺 (Kencho-ji, Kamakura, Japan) on 04 May 2014.

And You, what would You write on your “Ema” in Japan?



  • Votive plaque = 絵馬 (Ema).
  • Tengu = 天狗, Karasu-tengu = 烏天狗, Jizo = 地蔵, Migawari-jizo-son = 身代り地蔵尊.
  • Kencho-ji = 建長寺, Kamakura city = 鎌倉市 (Kamakura-shi).