Shrines and temples are popular tourist attractions in Japan, offering visitors a chance to learn about the country’s cultural and religious history. Here are some key facts to help tourists plan their trip:
- Difference between Shrines and Temples: While both shrines and temples are religious sites, they represent two different religions. Shrines are for Shintoism, while temples are for Buddhism.
- Appearance: Shrines are characterized by a torii gate at the entrance, while temples have a sanmon gate. Shrines often have a main sanctuary housing the spirit of a deity, while temples have a large incense burner and many Buddhist statues.
- Number of Shrines and Temples: There are about 80,000 Shinto shrines and 75,000 Buddhist temples all over Japan.
- Purpose: Shrines and temples serve different purposes. Shrines are often visited for ceremonies linked to the major stages of life, such as births and marriages, or for family or personal prosperity. Temples, on the other hand, often host ceremonies related to death or personal devotion to achieve enlightenment.
- Worshipping Etiquette: When visiting shrines and temples, it is important to follow proper etiquette and respect the sacred atmosphere. This includes purifying your hands and mouth, bowing in front of the torii gate, and not walking through the gate directly in the center.
Tourists can plan their trip to Japan by visiting both shrines and temples to learn about the cultural and religious aspects of the country. They can also consider participating in ceremonies or events held at these sites to gain a deeper understanding of Japanese traditions.