Shrine maidens are seen packing lucky items for celebrating the New Year, the first of the Reiwa Era, at the Dazaifu Tenman-gu shrine in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Nov. 27. With 2020 being the year of the rat, many of the lucky charms are decorated with the rodent. Among the goods are ornaments, woodblocks with pictures on them known as "ema," arrows bringing luck, and vividly colored crepe cords that are tied into a bundle and bagged. Preparations are set to continue until around Dec. 20, by which time some 90,000 items are expected to be ready for the around 2 million people estimated to visit over the New Year period, the most for any shrine in the Kyushu and Yamaguchi regions of southwestern and western Japan.
(Japanese original by Seiji Kuwahara, Fukuoka Minami Bureau)