Many of Japan’s traditions and ideas are unfamiliar to those outside of Japan, particularly when it comes to religion and the etiquette around visiting temples and shrines. As there are jinja (Shinto shrines) and kami (gods) throughout Japan, read on to learn how to visit a Shinto Shrine correctly.

Temizu, water purification

Temizu (purifying your hands and mouth)

When visiting a jinja, pass under the Torii (sacred gate) and proceed to the Temizuya, a purification font usually consisting of a stone water basin, to cleanse your hands and rinse your mouth. This is a simple act of purification before approaching the main sanctuary. 

How to visit a Shinto Shrine (or Jinja) in Japan

Praying etiquette to Kami

When you have cleansed your hands and mouth, you may proceed through the gate to the jinja or another object where you wish to pray to the kami. Your prayer should be your own.

For detailed steps including diagrams and a glossary of terms on how to visit a Shinto Shrine, follow the link below.

(You can read the full article via this link. This article was first published on November 13 2019 on JAPAN Forward, who aim to reveal the true face of Japan to the English speaking world in areas ranging from politics to sports and pop culture.)

Read more about our favourite temples and shrines here and more about Japanese culture here.