How to behave when you visit a temple | Guidable Japan

How to behave when you visit a temple

By Guidable Writers Oct 22, 2016

I have told you how to behave when you visit a shrine before. And this time, I will teach you how to behave when you visit a temple. You probably think “What is the difference between shrine and temple?” Here’s the answer : A shrine belongs to Shinto(神道, which enshrines Gods) and a temple belongs to Buddism(仏教, where we worship someone related to Buddha).

So, the way you have to behave is different from each other.


Here are the steps you can follow


1. Take a bow before you pass through the gate

If you see two guardians at both sides of the gate, show your respect to them. If you can read some hiragana, one of the alphabets has a shape of mouth i.e. “a(あ)”, the other has “un(うん)”. They represent the start and the end of everything. Do you know why?

After entering the area, you can walk anywhere you want. Not like in a shrine.


2. Freshen up your hands and mouth

You do exactly the same way as you would for a shrine. If you don’t see a water place, no need to worry about purifying your body with water.


3. Soak in the smog from incense stick and cleanse your body from the head

Incenses are considered to be a gift to Buddha. It can relieve you from your ugly greed and exorcise your body and mind. You can ring a bell either before you do this or afterwards.


4. Pray quietly

Toss a coin like you would do in a shrine. Then ring the bell three times. Don’t clap, just pray quietly and take a deep bow to finish here. The last deep bow is very important.


I don’t mean all Japanese know these ways and follow them, but it is good for you to know Japanese culture.