Omikuji ( ?, ?, or ) are random fortunes written on strips of paper at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan (Nowadays, these are sometimes coin-slot machines.). Literally sacred lottery, these are usually received by making a small offering (generally a five-yen coin as it is considered good luck) and randomly choosing one from a box, hoping for the resulting fortune to be good. The omikuji is scrolled up or folded, and unrolling the piece of paper reveals the fortune written on it. It includes a general blessing which can be any one of the following: Great blessing (dai-kichi, ) Middle blessing (ch?-kichi, ) Small blessing (sh?-kichi, ) Blessing (kichi, ?) Half-blessing (han-kichi, ) Near-blessing (sue-kichi, ) Near-small-blessing (sue-sh?-kichi, ?) Curse (ky?, ?) Small curse (sh?-ky?, ) Half-curse (han-ky?, ) Near-curse (sue-ky?, ) Great curse (dai-ky?, ) The omikuji predicts the persons chances of his or her hopes coming true, of finding a good match, or generally matters of health, fortune, life, etc. When the prediction is bad, it is a custom to fold up the strip of paper and attach it to a pine tree or a wall of metal wires alongside other bad fortunes in the temple or shrine grounds. A purported reason for this custom is a pun on the word for pine tree (? matsu) and the verb to wait ( matsu), the idea being that the bad luck will wait by the tree rather than attach itself to the bearer. In the event of the fortune being good, the bearer has the option of tying it for the fortune to have a greater effect or can keep it for luck. Though nowadays this custom seems more of a childrens amusement, omikuji are available at most shrines, and remain one of the traditional activities related to shrine-going, if lesser. The random fortunes in fortune cookies may be derived from omikuji this is claimed by Seiichi Kito of Fugetsu-Do, and supported by evidence that (American) fortune cookies derive from 19th century Kyoto cookies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omikuji
The Origin of Fortune Cookies Omikuji From Coin-slot Machine!