Ema: Votive picture of a horse, votive tablet of a horse
Ema are wooden plates on which people write their prayers. Then they are hung up at a shrine as offerings to the gods. Ema usually take a shape of pentagon because the plates used to have roofs on them. Ema have a history going back to the Nara-era (710-794), when a picture of a horse was offered to a shrine instead of a real horse. Each shrine uses its unique and traditional Ema. At Fushimi Inari Shrine, for example, the face of a fox is painted on the plate because a fox is considered to be the godís messenger. In the present days people also like to attach miniature Ema to their key chains or cell phones as bringer of good luck.