Many Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan include in their premises small shrines dedicated to one of the Seven Gods of Luck, Shichi Fukujin.
The small shrine from this photo, one of the most beautiful of those I visited, is dedicated to Fukurokuju 「福禄寿」, the God of happiness, wealth and longevity, and it is located at the Iriya Kishimojin Temple in Taito-ku, Tokyo. Fukurokuju （Fuku means Happiness, Roku Wealth and Ju Longevity) is often represented as a short old man, with shaved head and a very tall forehead.
There are many opinions regarding the origins of Fukurokuju, but the most commonly accepted is that he is Shou Star, one of the Three Taoist Lucky Gods, Fu Lu Shou (Fu is the Good Fortune, Lu the Prosperity and Shou the Longevity). The Shou Star is also the star of the South Pole in the Chinese astronomy (known today as Canopus) and the God of Longevity. Actually, it seems that he was a Taoist hermit who lived in China during the Song Dynasty…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: