How to Make a Wish at the Japanese Temples

When we were in Japan, whenever we visited a shrine we'd see these rows of 'Ema' (絵馬) wooden wishing plaques. There were usually animals on one side and wishes written on the other side.

The word 'Ema' actually means 'drawn horse'. Why so? Because in the past, horses were considered messengers of the gods and leaving an actual horse at a shrine was a powerful way to send a wish to the gods. As you could imagine, this was only available to the mega rich, so the practice of drawing a horse or any animal on these wooden tablets became the general practice over time.

I loved reading people's wishes because it showed no matter our physical appearance, political viewpoints, or language barrier - we all longed for the same things.

Here are some of the my favorites that I spotted: