In typical fashion, the Seven Gods of Fortune arrived in Japan via China and were then incorporated and amalgated into the local mythology and folklore. The Seven Gods are often found at new year celebrations riding their takarabune, or ‘treasure ship’, to bring good fortune and fantastic gifts.
Around Shinagawa station at the bottom of the Yamanote Line train loop, there are seven shrines, each of which is dedicated to one of the seven gods. It makes for a pleasant walk on a sunny afternoon and, if you pay 200yen, you can get a certificate which each temple stamps for a nice souvenir.
Hotei (布袋), the god of abundance and good health:
Juroujin (寿老人), the god of longevity:
Fukurokuju (福禄寿), the god of happiness, wealth and longevity:
Bishamonten (毘沙門天), the god of warriors:
Benzaiten (弁財天), the goddess of knowledge, art and beauty, especially music:
Daikokuten (大黒天), the god of wealth, commerce and trade:
Ebisu (恵比須), the god of fishers or merchants: