Temples and Shrines
Make the most of your sight-seeing.
When you visit a shrine, you must be aware that you are stepping into god's boundaries. Know the do's and don'ts!
Sanpai is the act of visiting a temple or shrine to worship and pray to god, and to appreciate for what you have now. You must not show greed.
- Try not to walk in the center part of all paths. The center is where the gods pass.
- When walking through a torii gate, bow once before walking through.
- When you reach the sanctuary:
- Stand on the right or left side, not in the center.
- Drop a coin into the money box (try not to throw it in).
- Shake the rope to ring the bell.
- Bow twice, clap twice, put your hands together and pray.
- Bow one last time.
It doesn't matter how much money you drop in the box, but the 5-yen coin (go-en) has a meaning of good luck and is best recommended.
Omikuji is a style of fortune telling, which is usually done at shrines. Many people visit shrines for New Year's to show appreciation for their present state, and to pray good luck for the coming year. During their visit, they will pick out an omikuji to find out how their coming year may turn out. There are several different ways, but here is a typical way of getting your omikuji:
- After paying money, shake the omikuji box well, then turn it upside down. A stick will fall out of the small hole on the top of the box. The stick will have a number on it.
- Look for the small drawer with your number written on it. Inside will be sheets of fortune. Take one.
- After reading thoroughly, you may either tie your fortune onto the designated area, or fold it up and take it home with you.
An omamori is an amulet which you can buy at temples and shrines. Each amulet has a purpose, for example traffic safety, or giving safe birth, or academic achievement, or finding marriage.