The Forest of the Seven Lucky Gods (Hida Kaiun-no-Mori Shichi-fuku-jin, in Japanese) consists of seven huge shinto gods carved from ancient Japanese trees.
Carved out of wood that once belonged to trees that were over 1,000 years old, the seven gods in the forest sit in historic rice storehouses near Takayama, Japan. The holy septet are important figures in Japanese legend and mythology, each with unique attributes not unlike the Christian saints. Hotei is the plump god of abundance, while Bishamonten looks over warriors. There is also Jurōjin who is the god of long life, Fukurokuju, god of happiness, and Benzaiten, goddess of art and enlightenment. Finally there are Daikokuten and Ebisu, a pair of deities whose purview is over concerns of commerce and trade. Each of the lucky gods has a specific look as well from happy and healthy to fearsome and severe. The representations in the forest capture each of the gods’ attitudes in both face and body.
Each of the figures has a small shrine at its feet where spring water culled from a nearby shrine is left to honor the deities. Known as the “water of luck and prosperity,” the spring is said to have erupted from the ground 1,700 days after the gods first shared their divine influence with the world. The tranquil surrounds of the Forest of Seven Lucky Gods provide a meditative setting commune with the gods of fortune for anyone lucky enough to get to visit.
Know Before You Go
Situated next to the Hida-no-sato Folk Village (at the other end of the car park), 20 minutes bus journey from Takayama train station. It is not obviously advertised.