Japanese Shrines

Updated

Japanese Shrine | General Information

Japanese Shrine | General Information

In Japan, each area, such as villages and towns, has its own shrine. The god of each area is called Ujigami-sama, the protecting god, and people who believe in this god are called uji-ko, or protected children.

The Japanese people have many traditions for every season and for important times in a person's life. Most of them have something to do with the Ujigami-sama god. Speaking of traditions for every season, they begin with hatsu-mode, followed by the haru-matsuri, where people pray for good crops, and the aki-matsuri, where people thank the gods for good crops. In addition, traditions for important times in a person's life include miya-mairi, which is held for 30-day-old babies, shichi-go-san, which is the celebrations for 7,5,3 years old, and so on. Apart from these traditions, people with bad luck sometimes visit a shrine to get purified.

There are some traditional rules when people visit a shrine. People must wash their hands before they pray. They stand before the alter, bow once, and ring a bell. Next, they throw and offer of money, usually coins, into a box and take two deep bows. Then, they join their hands together and clap twice. Finally, they pray to the god and bow deeply once more. This is called ni-hai-ni-hakushu-ichi-hai, two bows, two claps and one bow.

People who serve at a shrine

Kannushi --- The chief Shinto priest who performs the rituals at a shrine.
Miko --- Unmarried woman in the service of duties.

Small article in a shrine

Ema --- Avotive offering board with a horse drawing, dedicated to the deities. Used for expressing prayers or acknowledging when a wish has been fulfilled.
Omikuji --- An oracle drawn to determine one's fortune. When the person choose a stick, he/she is given a paper on which the corresponding fortune is written.
Omamori --- A paper charm of a god or Buddha used for protection or making a wish.
Hamaya --- Arrows given by shrines to visitors on New Year's day, wishing them good luck.

Reference: Japan at a Glance Updated

Shrines in Kyoto and Nara

Heian Shrine

Heian Shrine

Famous shrine dedicated to Emperor Kammu, the fonder of Kyoto, and the Emperor Komei, the last emperor in Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Thousands of torii gates form an unbroken tunnel

Sanjusangendo

Sanjusangendo

Famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the Goddess of mercy

Kasuga Taisha

Kasuga Taisha

Kasuga Grand Shrine Dedicated to Gods of Nara's Protection

Shrines in Tokyo and Tochigi

Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine

A Shinto shrine which was dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife in 1920

Nikko Toshogu

Nikko Toshogu

See no Evil, Speak no Evil, Hear no Evil

Shrines in Kanagawa

Zeniarai Benten Shrine

Zeniarai Benten Shrine

Money washed at this shrine will double, bringing fortune to the individual

Hakone Shrine

Hakone Shrine

Hidden in the dense forest, but are well advertised by its huge torii gates

Kamakura Tsurugaoka Hachimangu

Kamakura Tsurugaoka Hachimangu

Kamakura's most important shrine

Kotokuin

Kotokuin

Famous for the Kamakura Great Buddha

Shrines in Tottori and Shimane

Hakuto Shrine

Hakuto Shrine

Shrine about the story of the hare and sharks

Izumo Taisha

Izumo Taisha

One of Japan's oldest and most important shrines; enshrines the creator of Japan

Shrines in Hiroshima and Yamaguchi

Itsukushima Shrine

Itsukushima Shrine

Famous floating torii gate on Miyajima

Hofu Tenman-gu

Hofu Tenman-gu

Japan's first Tenmangu shrine

Shrines in Osaka, Mie, and Nara

Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine

Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine

One of Japan's oldest shrines; main shrine of over 2,000 Sumiyoshi shrines in Japan

Ise Grand Shrine

Ise Grand Shrine

Consists of two shrines which are considered two of the most sacred Shinto shrines

Omiwa Shrine

Omiwa Shrine

Said to be the oldest shrine in Japan, having already been active sometime in 250-538

Shrines in Oita

Usa Shrine

Usa Shrine

Shrine dedicated to Hachiman, God of warriors

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