In this section, we would like to explain the proper manners when visiting a “shrine”. A shrine, where the “sacred object” is enshrined, is like the house of the gods. We still expect you to remember the reverence. We hope you will find these informations useful.
Let’s take a moment to review the various facilities of the “shrine”.
～Facilities in the Shrine～
Procedures for worship the shrine
① Walking along the “Sando” path
These are exactly what you see in the names of places in Japan, “○○-sando”. The path is also used by the gods. The middle part of the path is considered to be the path for the gods, so please be careful not to obstruct the path. Most people drive on the left.
② Passing through the “Torii” gate
First of all, before passing through the “Torii” gate, bow to the “Shinden” where the gods are enshrined. The bow means, some kind of “Excuse me”, so please be mindful. The middle of the “Torii” gate is the path for the gods, as is the approach to the shrine. Please keep in mind that this manner is the same in the precincts as well.
③ “Misogi(Ritual purification)”
To visit a shrine, you need to purify your body and soul. Therefore, most shrines, especially those that have been around for a long time, have a clear stream near them. In the past, worshippers purified their bodies and souls by bathing in the clear water, and the purifying was called “Misogi”. In modern times, the format has changed, and a watering place called a “Temizuya / Chozuya” has been established instead. Worshippers rinse their mouths and wash their hands there. By the way, there is a proper way to do this as well.
(1) Take a ladle with your right hand, scoop up the clean water with it, and pour water on your left hand to wash and purify.
(2) Replace the ladle in your left hand and wash and purify your right hand in the same way.
(3) Hold the ladle in your right hand again, catch the water in your left palm, and rinse your mouth (Don’t drink it).
(4) After taking water into the ladle again, stand the ladle upright with the handle facing down to rinse the handle. Place the washed and cleaned ladle face down on the ladle holder.
(5) Wipe wet hands and mouth clean with a fresh handkerchief or hand towel.
④ Hedding for the “Haiden”
As mentioned in ①, the center of the path is the way for the gods to pass by, so avoid it. Unless otherwise specified, you should also drive on the left.
After calling the enshrined the gods and greeting, pray to the gods. Pray to the gods enshrined in the shrine. These days, there are clearly marked procedures for worshippers. Usually, the following is how to do that.
1. Put the money into the “Saisen-Bako(Box)” and ring the hanging “Bell”.
Never throw the money into the box, but put it in gently. Because it is still considered rude, right?
2. After giving the “most respectful bow” twice, clap your hands twice, and pray. Finally give the “Most Respectful bow” again.
(1) Stand facing the direction where the “sacred object” is enshrined, straighten your posture, and then “most respectul bow” twice.
(2) Place both hands neatly together in front of your chest.
(3) Pull your right hand just a little bit, and then clap your hands twice.
(4) Bring your hands together properly again.
(5) Please pray.
(6) After quietly lowering your hands, straighten your posture and give the “most respectful bow” once again.
※In some shrines, this procedure is a bit unique. For example, at “Ise-Jingu Shrine”, it is “most respectful bow”×8 and “clap”×8. At “Izumo-Oyashiro Shrine”, you have to do “clap”×4. If the shrine has other procedures, please follow them.
3. Quietly leave the front of the “Haiden”.
Do not make noise or hang out there, just because your prayers completed. Leave with reverence in your heart.
These are how it should be done. The procedures are just the common manner, and we hope you remember. It’s no-problem to feel your way around. After all, The feeling of respect is the most important thing, right?