Ome Daruma Market 2018

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Instead of making (and swiftly breaking) New Year's resolutions, the tradition in Japan is to pick up a Daruma doll and make a few wishes. The eyes of this round, hollow-headed talisman – based on the famous 5th-6th century monk Bodhidharma – are blank when you first buy it: paint in one when making a wish, and the other if it comes true. There are Daruma markets throughout the country in winter, though one of the biggest in the Tokyo area takes place in Ome, a traditional centre of manufacturing for the distinctive Tama version of the doll. Held in one form or the other since the late 15th century, it sees a whopping 200 stalls set up around Sumiyoshi Shrine.

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