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Before going on a holiday to Japan, learn about the superstitions that are part of the unique culture of the region. Japanese culture has a wide range of interesting folk-tales and superstitions that differ from Western cultures.
Four is the Number for Death
The superstition that the number four is unlucky and brings death comes from the sound of the letters. Four is pronounced as “shi” in the Japanese language, which is the sound used for the word death. Hotels and hospitals often skip the number four when numbering floors.
Nine is the Number for Suffering
In hospitals, the ninth floor is often skipped because the number is pronounced as “ku,” which is also the sound for suffering.
Seeing a Spider in the Morning is Lucky
Although the Japanese culture suggests that seeing a spider in the morning is lucky, it is unlucky to see a spider at night.
Hiding a Thumb During a Funeral Protects Parents
Individuals in Japan hide their thumb in a fist when a hearse is passing by because it supposedly protects parents from the same fate.
Hiccupping 100 Times Brings Death
It is believed that 100 consecutive hiccups will result in the death of the individual.
Omamori Bring Luck
Omamori are the talismans sold in shrines around the country. Depending on the talisman purchased, it can bring luck in money, love, school or work.
Catching a Crow’s Eyes is Unlucky
It is believed that catching the eyes of a crow will bring bad luck.
Girls Born in the Year of the Fire Horse are Evil
The Chinese zodiac is used in Japan as part of the culture. It is said that girls who are born in the year of the fire horse, or the Hinoe Uma, will be evil. The last fire horse year was 1966 and the next will occur in 2026.
Whistling Brings a Ghost
It is said that whistling at night will bring a ghost or a snake as a visitor to a home.
The Thunder God Eats Belly Buttons
In Japan, it is recommended to hide belly buttons during a thunder storm. Otherwise, the god of thunder will eat it.
Japanese culture has some interesting myths and superstitions that differ significantly from western cultures. Understanding these Japanese superstitions will make a vacation to the country more enjoyable.