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

by GoWithGuide 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