When visiting Japanese temples or shrines, you may notice that many of the massive gates are covered with graphic, black and white stickers. These stickers are not the Japanese version of graffiti, but rather senjafuda, or "thousand shrine tags". Worshippers have their names printed on special strips of paper, pay a small amount to the chosen temple, go through a prayer ritual, and receive permission to apply their sticker.
|Senjafuda cover the entrance gate to Gotokuji Temple, Setagaya Ward, Tokyo.|
It's getting harder to participate in this tradition. Many temples and shrines have now banned the practice, as worshippers have increasingly been caught sticking without paying. Also, the invention of synthetic adhesives means that many modern stickers damage the wood of old shrine gates.
How do some stickers get stuck so high off the ground? How do you get a senjafuda made in the traditional fashion? This Japan Times article explains the practice in much better detail!
Disclaimer: I do my best to make sure all my information is accurate. However, details may change or I may just be flat-out wrong. Please let me know if something needs a correction. Thank-you!