What is the difference between Shinto and Buddhism?

by Sachimi

 

One of the frequent asked questions from foreigners are “What is the difference between Shinto and Buddhism /or Shrine and Temple?”   

This question is the first thing for the tour guides to understand, but actually even many Japanese might not exactly understand about this.

So let me explain it.

Shinto is Japan’s indigenous religion based on the worship of nature. Shinto is polytheistic and has no founder and no script.  Shinto’s most important thing is purity.  Shinto deities are enshrined in shrines.  

Buddhism was introduced through China and Korea to Japan in the 6th century, and it was founded by Buddha and has script. Buddhism teaches how to reach the enlightenment.   The statue of Buddha or various kinds of Buddhist deities are worshiped at temples.

So now you understand that Shrine is for Shinto and Temple is for Buddhism, OK!?

 

Meiji Shinto Shrine

What is the difference between Shinto and Buddhism?

 
 
 
Zojo-ji Temple (with Tokyo Tower as back)
What is the difference between Shinto and Buddhism?

The easy way to distinguish Shrine and Temple is the gate. If you see the simple gate with two vertical pillars connected on top by two horizontal bars, it is the gate for Shinto called "Torii" gate.  On the other hand, if you see the gate with roof and more ornament and like building, it is the gate for the Temple, and the main gate to the temple is often called "Sanmon".    The gates are believed to keep evil spirits out and to mentally purify those passing through the gate.

 

Gate to Shinto Shrine (Meiji Shrine)  
What is the difference between Shinto and Buddhism?Gate to Temple (Sensoji Temple ) What is the difference between Shinto and Buddhism?

Many Japanese belongs to both Shinto and Buddhism, with the tolerant nature of Shinto that accepts any religions. We Japanese visit Shinto shrine for the happy occasions of this world such as wedding ceremony, ceremony of birth of baby, etc and Temple for the rituals related to the next world such as funeral and annual services for deceased.

It is probably deeper topic to talk about, but this explanation is very basic for you to understand one aspect of Japan. 

Please see and feel the sacred places in Tokyo by joining the tour.

This tour visits each one of the most popular Shrines and Temples in Tokyo!  

https://triplelights.com/japan/tour/tokyo-by-sachimi-739

 
 
 

http://planetyze.com/japan/tokyo/zojo-ji-temple

 


05 Jul 2016


National Certified Guide

(5) Reviews

Contact Sachimi

Hello! I am Sachimi. I am a national licensed English tour guide.
I live in Nakano City, Tokyo with my husband and one son.
I love walking around town, hiking in nature, gardening, and of course travelling!
I also enjoy Japanese calligraphy, Kimono, and Tea ceremony lesson those days.
I myself am exploring Tokyo and around town and Japanese traditional culture day by day. Tokyo has lots to see and experience!!
I wish I could be your help to have great time, experience and memory of Japan!!
Looking forward to seeing you soon!


Related cities

Tours by Guide

Tsukiji Fish Market and Asakusa Walking ...

(5) Reviews
by Sachimi
5h $ 156 up to 4 people

Kawagoe Town Walking Tour

(5) Reviews
by Sachimi
8h $ 249 up to 4 people

Sachimi's One Day Tokyo customized tour

(5) Reviews
by Sachimi
7h $ 218 up to 4 people

Half Day Tour - Old and New (Meiji Shrin...

(5) Reviews
by Sachimi
3h $ 93 up to 4 people

One Day Tokyo Highlight -Temple, Shrine...

(5) Reviews
by Sachimi
7h $ 187 up to 4 people

Ueno & Yanaka Walking Tour

(5) Reviews
by Sachimi
4:30h $ 134 up to 4 people

Plan a Trip to Tokyo

Request a tailor-made tour from our community of guides.
Guides will create the best plan for you, according to your preferences.

Request a Custom Tour