Daikokuten is closely associated with wealth and prosperity. He is the patron kami of farmers and businessmen, and Chiba associates him with the following occupations: advertising agents, artisans, bankers, butchers, carpenters, craftsmen, farmers, financiers, ironworkers, millers, miners, undertakers (p40). He is also very much a household deity and is often considered to be the kami of the kitchen.
There are two theories about Daikokuten's origin: one has it that he was the Mahakala incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva, the other that he was Ōkuni-nushi (80). In Sanskrit "Maha" means "great": the "dai" of Daikokuten can be interpreted as great, Mahakala is typically black in colour, the "koku" of Daikokuten means black. Daikoku and Ōkuni are homophonic: The "Ō" of Ōkuni-nushi is written with the same character as the "Dai" of Daikokuten, 大, while the "kuni" (国) of Ōkuni-nushi can be read as "koku."
Images of Daikokuten always show him with an upraised mallet (uchide-no-kozuke) in his right hand, his head covered with something resembling a beret (daikoku zuikin), and mounted on two bales of rice (kome dawara). The uchide-no-kozuke is said by Chiba to be made of gold, while Miyata says it is made of earth, either way it represents prosperity. (Daikokuten is sometimes seen as the kami of the five grains). The daikoku zuikin is to prevent him looking up, a sign of modesty. The two bags of rice enjoin sufficiency, satisfaction with one's lot. He is often pictured with a large bag slung over his back which is said to contain many valuable objects. His facial expression is usually a contented smile but this is a relatively modern development. In his early incarnations the expression he wore was one of anger, resentment, indignation, befitting the Mahakala "great black" connotation.
Kanda Jinja 神田神社
Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Sotokanda 2-16-2
Ōmaeebisu Jinja 大前恵比寿神社
Tochigi-ken, Mooka-shi, Higashigo 943
Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Naniwa-ku, Shikitsunishi 1-2-12
Aburakake-Daikokuten Jinja 油掛大黒天神社
Okayama-ken, Okayama-shi, Kita-ku, Yumino-chō 16-8