We often get asked, "What is the proper way to visit the many shrines and temples in Japan?" The truth is that there are some simple rules to follow but, the biggest tip is to just watch what others are doing and just follow along. Itâ€™s that easy. Be polite and respectful of the space and no one will mind you visiting any publically open shrines and temples.
Shrine Visit 101
Approach the shrine through the main gate walking to the side.
Cleanse your hands with the provided ladles, letting the dirty water drop to the ground.
Approach the main shrine and drop a coin in the offering box.
Ring the bell using the cord is there is once. Bow twice to the shrine, clap your hands twice, with your hands together in front of you think a short prayer then bow again.
Leave the main shrine and enjoy the rest of the shrine grounds.
Temple Visit 101
Approach the temple through the main gate.
At the main temple drop a coin in the offering box.
With your hands together in front of you think a short prayer to your ancestors.
Leave the main temple and enjoy the grounds and activities of the surroundings.
*Be sure to check for a no photos allowed sign before taking pictures of the shrine or temples, some allow photos of only certain areas, others do not allow any pictures at all. If in doubt ask!
For more detailed information please see the JNTO guide here:
Some other activities to do at Shrines & Temples
|Enjoy the gardens and surroundings
||Learn your fortune or buy a protective charm
||Experience practices such a Zen meditation
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