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Kyushu Travel Guide

Ema (絵馬)

Ema is small pentagon-shaped wooden plaque dedicate to 
Shrine and Temple.

  


One side of the plaque usually has a picture of horse or the 
animal representing the zodiac sigh of that year.
On the other side, which is blank, people write their wishes 
for wide variety of things, then hang the Ema up the certain 
places in the Shrine or Temple.
The custom originally came from wealthy people’s practice 
of offering real horses when they made wishes.
Eventually, this turned into the tradition of giving pictures of 
horse, as donating real horses became too much of financial 
strain.

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