What is Temples/Shrines

According to Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan has about 77,000 temples and about 81,000 shrines in 2017. It is about 158,000 in total…! The number of convenient stores in Japan is about 55,000 and that of parks is about 108,000 so you can see how lot we have temples and shrines.

 

Differences between temples and shrines.

There are 3 big differences between temples and shrines.

Religion

Temples follow Buddhism and shrines follow Shintoism. Buddhism is a world wide religion but the orient of Shintoism is Japan. The god of Buddhism is Buddha. Even Buddhist believe that there are pains when people are living their lives, people need to find reasons for those pains. Once you notice reasons, you can find a way to solve it. Buddhism hopes for eternal happiness. Shintoism, however, believes that people can achieve hopes if they come to the shrine and wish their hopes. The god can be dead people and even soul of animals. It is quite casual religion for Japanese that we don’t take it seriously.

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Cemetery

There are cemeteries in temples but there are non in shrines. Shintoism believes that death is disgrace so you’ll never find cemetery in shrines.

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Torii gate

You can find Torii gate when you’re in shrines. There are no Torii gate in temples. Specific meanings of Torii gate are unclear but it is usually said that Torii gate is the entrance of shrines and a boundary between the precincts and the world the people live.

 

How to pray

Temple

  1. Put money in the offering box.
  2. Fold hands to worship.
  3. After you prayed, please bow one time.
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Shrine

  1. Put money in the offering box.
  2. Bow two times and clap your hands twice.
  3. Then fold hands to worship and bow one time after praying.

 

 

How to draw Omikuji (written oracle)

  1. Pay money (It is usually about 100-300 yen)
  2. Draw sticks or the written oracle
  3. The number written on the stick is your luck or the paper you draw is your luck
  4. If you get the stick, you’ll get paper at the decided place
  5. Finish!