News from JNTO

Feature: Shrines and Temple Best Practices

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. It’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

Information is provided as a courtesy to users of this website. Though the JNTO endeavors to ensure the information is accurate, users of the information are to act on such using their own judgement and at their own risk. Neither the JNTO nor any holder of copyright to the information shall be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any loss or misunderstanding, either direct or indirect, that is incurred as a result of utilizing the information.

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