⛩ Japanese Shrine Appreciation Thread ⛩

:shinto_shrine: Welcome! :shinto_shrine:

I realized we don’t have a shrine appreciation thread yet, so I figure I’d start one here!

Do you love Japanese Shinto Shrines? Do you want to share your visits? Do you want to learn more about shrines? Let’s use this thread!

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Prominent Shrines

feel free to add your favorites and link to posts about them here :slight_smile:

Hokkaido
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Tohoku
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Kanto
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Chubu
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Kansai
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Chugoku

Shikoku
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Kyushu

Okinawa
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Outside Japan
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Information about Shrine Etiquette

Procedures

The first thing you do at a shrine is pass through a torii :shinto_shrine: gate. If you’d like, you can bow to it before you walk through as a sign of respect to the god(s) of the shrine. I’ve heard it’s bad luck/form to step directly on the threshold or below the torii (from folks at Washington DC’s Sakura Matsuri), but I haven’t been able to verify this. You should though not walk in the middle of the path and instead to the side (I recommend going with the flow of traffic as left/right side walking changes from prefecture to prefecture). The center of the path at a shrine is considered where the god(s) walk.

Once through, there is usually water to purify your hands and mouth. Normally you’d wash your left hand, then your right, your mouth/lips, and then let the remaining water wash over the scoop’s handle. You’d let this water all fall outside the basin as in the basin should be the pure water. However, nowadays because of the pandemic, the scoops are gone from most shrines and they have a small trickle of water instead.

Please feel free to contribute more shrine etiquette tips here!

Seasonal

Dondoyaki
It’s considered disrespectful to throw out New Year’s decorations and charms with the regular trash, so starting in early January, many shrines have a box where you can put old charms and spiritual decorations to be purified with fire.

Chinowa Kuguri
Chinowa Kuguri are vertical hoops made of grasses that you can usually find at shrines starting on June 30th. Their purpose is help purify and repel diseases. You are supposed to walk through the hoop 3 times as part of the ritual. First you go through and circle around to the left, then you go through again but circle around to the right, then you go through a third time and circle to the left, finally, you pass straight through.


I’ve never seen one of these without a diagram with pictures, but when in doubt, you can copy the person directly in front of you. Depending on the size of the chinowa kuguri, many people can pass through at the same time and because you are turning different directions, it can get crowded. The busiest one I’ve gone through had maybe ~15 going through at the same time and it was wide enough for 2-3 people to pass through the hoop together.
More information in Japanese:
image

Tips

  • Don’t pass in front of someone who is praying. Walk behind or around them and try not to disturb them.
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Shrine Shinto is beautiful :slight_smile:

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I think 厳島神社 is cool, I’d like to see it someday.

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I assume it’s nice! Hopefully when they finish renovations, it’ll be possible to view it without obstruction again and also walk up to it.

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What inspired this thread was that I was watching this video (time stamped)

and remembered all the cool omikuji games I’ve played at shrines. :slight_smile:

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青島神社社務所

Aoshima Shrine is an absolutely beautiful shrine in Miyazaki prefecture and located right along the coast. The island it’s on is surrounded by a cool geographical feature called the Devil’s Washboard


It’s a shrine that’s popular for love and when I visited, I saw a traditional Shinto Wedding Ceremony being preformed.

I’m not getting married though so my favorite part of the visit was fishing for my omikuji (fortune). While this video isn’t at Aoshima, it’s the same game :slight_smile:

Check out the shrine’s website for more info!

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Coming from someone who lives 15 minutes away from Miyajima by foot, it’s beautiful. :wink: They claim that construction should be finished by December of this year, but who knows if they’ll prolong it again if the pandemic continues…

But it’s really neat!


You can see the sunset behind the Torii gates during the summer.


This is the actual shrine (Itsukushima Shrine) during low tide.

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Gorgeous!! If they actually finish this time, I’ll have to make a trip out.

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I went there a few weeks ago. It was all scaffolded up. :sob:

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I’ve been to many, many shrines. Trying to think of any visits that were particularly noteworthy…

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I actually went there, but the torii gate was undergoing some maintenance so I couldn’t appreciate it fully. It was also right after New Year’s so there was a lot of people. I stood in line to get a 御朱印 for about 2 hours :tired_face:


They were doing some kind of Noh performance during that time so at least it was a pleasant wait.

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Alrighty, lemme see. Full list of shrines I’ve been to in Japan (aside from tiny near-nameless neighbourhood shrines) plus one photo that I took of them each.

Machida Tenmangu

Machida, Tokyo
Because it was the first full day of my first visit to Japan, we were wandering aimlessly near our hotel taking it easy, and it was there, so we went in to see how identical to anime it really was.

Itsukushima Shrine

Miyajima, Hiroshima
Huh, I don’t seem to have been to many shrines on my first visit to Japan - this is the second actual shrine visit, on our tenth full day in Japan, though there were a few temples in between. Unfortunately, timing meant that we could only manage to visit Itsukushima during low tide, so I might have to visit again someday to get the full effect. (And to get a goshuin - I didn’t know about them at the time.)

Kitano Tenmangu

Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto
Mostly visited here because it was near Kinkaku-ji and they also visited it in K-On! Unfortunately arrived late enough in the day that everything was already closing up.

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Ward, Kyoto
Because of course. Inari shrines are my favourite type of shrine.

Meiji Jingu

Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
It was my last full day in Japan on the first trip, and I was trying to squeeze in as many last sights as I could manage, so I did little more than breeze through here before heading on to Shibuya. There was a wedding on.

Motomishima Shrine

Taito Ward, Tokyo
It was the first full day of my second visit to Japan, and now I knew about goshuin, so I needed to get a hold of a shuincho. This was a reasonably sizeable shrine that was reasonably close to my hotel, so I came here to see if I could get one, and it actually turned out to be quite pretty. They had shuincho, too.

Koryo Inari Shrine

Arakawa Ward, Tokyo
I was trying to do the Yanaka Shichifukujin Meguri (Seven Lucky Gods pilgrimmage) when I happened to spot this Inari shrine on my map, and I do love my Inari shrines.

Suwa Shrine

Arakawa Ward, Tokyo
The Shichifukujin Meguri wasn’t going great - most of the temple offices were closed, and not doing goshuin - so I started to wander in whichever direction looked prettiest, and found this shrine with ginkgo leaves carpeting the ground.

Nezu Shrine

Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
This one is on basically all of the “pretty places to visit in Tokyo” lists, so I knew I had to make the time to visit. Plus, it has a little Inari shrine on the grounds, which was an extra bonus.

Ueno Tosho-gu

Taito Ward, Tokyo
On the way to start my planned activity this day, I went for a wander through Ueno Park, and happened to come across this shrine.

Hanazono Inari Shrine

Taito Ward, Tokyo
… and then this one - and hey, this one’s an Inari Shrine.

Asakusa Shrine

Taito Ward, Tokyo
I was at Senso-ji, and this place is right next door, sooo… (I’m fairly sure this photo’s from Asakusa Shrine. I don’t seem to have taken many photos there, though.)

Goryo Shrine

Kamakura, Kanagawa
I thought I’d try the Kamakura Shichifukujin Meguri. This was (for me) stop number one, enshrining Fukurokujin. Not all of the stops on the Kamakura Shichifukujin Meguri are shrines and (spoiler alert) I actually ran out of time after the fourth stop, so this happaned to be the only Shichifukujin shrine I visited that day. Though not the only shrine.

Saskuke Inari Shrine

Kamakura, Kanagawa
En route between stops two and three, I came across this place. I happened to come in via the back way, so it really felt like I’d discovered a secret shrine hidden in the mountains (though of course on the front side, there’s a big ol’ stairway connecting it to the road).

Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine

Kamakura, Kanagawa

Not too far from the previous shrine, this place’s main activity is the washing of money (it’s in the name, see?) in order to increase income and blessings and such. (I actually realised recently that I’d seen all of these last three shrines before I’d visited them, in the Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club anime.)

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu

Kamakura, Kanagawa
This would have been stop number four on the Shichifukujin Meguri (stops two and three were temples), but as you can probably infer from the photo I’ve included, it was well and truly closed by the time I arrived. Gonna have to go back sometime so I can finish the route.

Aaaand this is proving to be a bit more time-consuming than I’d anticipated, so I’m gonna have to pause here and say

To Be Continued…

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Do you remember if you walked through the hoop/ Chinowa Kuguri? :eyes:

I’d forgotten to look up the name before, but I’ll add it to tips now

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I don’t really remember. Probably not. Even if I did, I almost certainly didn’t do the proper figure-eight route.

Though I just noticed that white square on the collection box in front of it is an information sign about how to do it right.

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Well, maybe if you visit at the right time of year next time, you can do it then. Do you mind if I add your information picture to this post? ⛩ Japanese Shrine Appreciation Thread ⛩ - #3 by DIO-Berry

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Sure, if you like, though it’s not the greatest of photos.

This visit was in December, incidentally. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you! it’s more detailed information than any boards I recall seeing. The ones I’ve seen are half drawings lol.

Oh odd that it was December! I guess I’ll have to research more about how long/when they’re put out.

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:shinto_shrine:

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