One of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune
Hotei-san is typically known as one of the seven gods that brings luck. In Kyoto, he is revered more as a messenger of the deity that wards off fire. The clay statue of Hotei-san comes in a variety of different sizes. A family will purchase the smallest version of the statue at Fushimi Inari Shrine around New Year’s. If nothing bad happens within the household that year, they will purchase a larger one the following year. If no misfortune befalls the family for seven years, then all statues are returned to the shrine and the family will again purchase the smallest statue. If the family suffers from misfortune, all of the clay statues are tossed into the river, and the smallest one will be purchased again.