How to visit temples and shrines in Japan - What to do, how to pray, how to wash your hands and more

by Coelho - TripleLights travel specialist

When you visit Japan, one of the main things you will do is visit the beautiful Buddhist temples or and shinto shrines.
There are many things you can do in a temple, and most of them have a correct way of doing it, for example,  how to wash your hands in a temple or how to pray,  should you clap in a temple or not, and etc.

Here is an introduction to the general etiquette for a visit to a Buddhist temple in Japan and other tips on how to enjoy a temple, a list of activities and tips that you can do and a nice story at the end.



In this video you will see:
1- Food and Shopping in Japanese Temples;
There's usually a lot going on around big temples: Festivals with local food, traditional clothing shops and much more.

2- How to read omikuji, how to read your fortune in Japanese Temples;
One very popular activity you can do in a temple is to read your fortunes through the "Omikuji" little papers with good or bad messages that you can take with you or leave at the temple for the gods to take any bad aura away.

3- What are the incenses, or Senkou for;
It is really common to see the sekou in many Buddhist temples. You can remove any bad aura, make an offering to the gods or heal your body with them.

4- How to wash your hands in the temple - how to purify your body washing your hands;
There's a correct procedure of washing your hands to purify your soul. This is an important ritual do do before entering any temple or shrine.

5- How to pray in temples in Japan - how to offer your prayers;
Generally, if there's a bell in the temple, you should ring it (make sure there's a sign permitting it), throw your coin in the "saisenbako" offering box, clap twice, bow twice and start your prayer. After you are done, clap once, bow once more and leave the place.
However, if there's no bell, you should only pray in silence. No clapping.

6- Temples and Shrine stamps (Goshuin);
In this video, You'll also find other tips such as how to get the temple staps, a beautiful way of keeping memories from the places you've been.

7- Taking pictures with people wearing traditional clothes.
And lastly, learn when it's ok to ask for a photo and the a phrase in Japanese you will need to  ask for pictures with people walking by. 

I believe all of these, are valuable and useful information for any kind of tourists who are visiting Japan. 

Information about the channel:
This video was made by Japan Fan, a channel dedicated to showing everything that is amazing, beautiful, fun, interesting and crazy about Japan. The creators live in Tokyo and we work on the creation of the Japan Video Guidebook www.Planetyze.com,  with videos and trip plans (itineraries) from all over Japan.


The video above was taken in one of Tokyo's most impressive areas:

Asakusa


The Tour of Old and New Japan in Asakusa

Home of Tokyo's oldest temple, Asakusa  is visited by more than half of the overseas tourists. Here you will encounter Tokyo’s oldest temple Sensoji Temple as well as the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), which is the outermost gate of Sensoji Temple as well as the street lined with old-school shops that lead to the inner precincts of the shrine. Many of the stores offer services in English.

more information


Sensoji Temple


Get an impression of Japanese culture at Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo, and Nakamise-dori with its many shops

Sensoji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest temple and surrounding the main temple is a 5-story pagoda as well as various shops along Nakamise-dori leading up to the temple. The famous Sanja Festival, which snakes its way through the temple grounds, and the Hozuki Festival occur along with other events on a yearly basis at Sensoji Temple.

More information on Sensoji temple

 

Did you like my article?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Japan, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Japan


15 Apr 2017

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews

“ 1 Day tour was perfect for Tokyo Newcomers ”

Excellent
6 hours ago Traveler: Clement -   Tour Guide: JPT

1 Day tour was perfect for Tokyo Newcomers! Yoshisan was an excellent guide and we enjoyed his humour. Thanks again for the great memories!
read more

“ Very nice day in Kamakura! ”

Excellent
7 hours ago Traveler: Mary -   Tour Guide: KAHOKO

Kahoko picked me up at my hotel and this was extremely helpful because I had limited experience using Tokyo public transit. She is a very knowledgeable person and we were able to communicate well using English. Kahoko shared cultural information with me about the difference between a temple and a shrine; she also shared helpful information about the history of Shintoism and Buddhism and how they ...
read more

“ Kanazawa with Family ”

Excellent
15 hours ago Traveler: Thomas -   Tour Guide: Yukari

Planning a trip is exhausting. Making sure everyone enjoys the trip, even more exhausting, if not impossible. I was fortunate to connect with Yukari through TripleLights, who gladly relieved me of that burden. We originally planned to visit Hiroshima and when our travel plans changed, I checked with TripleLights and Yukari's name came up, with excellent reviews and was fortunately available on ...
read more

“ Tokyo and Surronuds ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Sean -   Tour Guide: Ai

Exceptional guide who assisted looked after us for two days showing us some wonderful traditional areas as I wanted to stay away from the main attractions. Highly recommended.
read more

“ Timms Temple Thank You! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: D. -   Tour Guide: RIEKO

From the courtesy 1st extended by Rieko through meeting us in the Lobby of our hotel in Yokosuka and her patience by answering our multitude of question throughout our day spent together in KAMAKURA her experience and expertise was much appreciated. "Ricki" saved us from the stress of having to rely on our amateur skills with using the train and bus systems. Most likely allowing us to be able to...
read more

“ Great Guide with excellent knowledge of Tokyo ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: David -   Tour Guide: Hiroki

We had a great afternoon with Hiroki who was very professional and very patient with us as our plane was delayed by 90 minutes so are meeting time was deferred. Hiroki adopted our initial brief to fit our revised timeframe. This started with an introduction to the extensive Metro system to buy tickets for us to use for the next three days. Our tour included the area around the old fish market...
read more

“ Tokyo Highlights ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Gwendolyn -   Tour Guide: AKIRA

My husband and I wanted to see as much as possible of both touristy Tokyo and regular neighborhoods. Akira helped us navigate the metro and packed in more sights than we could have ever found on our own. He explained the history of each area. We really enjoyed an authentic meal in a cozy restaurant unlike any we had seen before. We highly recommend Akira for other first time visitors. We trust him...
read more

“ My Fuji, Lake Kawagachio and ice ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Debra -   Tour Guide: Kaori

Kaori was great she arrived on time , had everything organised down to the minute. We were able to change our itinery to suit the day. Unfortunately we didn't think we'd see Fuji, but she showed her self in full crowning glory. We were all so excited. We would highly recommend Kaori as a guide.
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started