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A place you must see while you visit japan


By Derrick on 29 Jan 2018

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Jinja is a place of worship originating from Japanese Shintoism. The majority of the deities worshipped here are Shinto gods. Since the ancient times, Japanese people have worshipped natural elements such as rivers and mountains as deities. There are also historical or legendary figures, including some derived from Taoist and Buddhist deities. According to a survey conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Education and Culture, there are currently around 85,500 shrines across Japan. If you include the number of smaller shrines located in remote areas that have not been registered, the number of shrines in Japan should exceed 100,000.

Most Chinese people are probably unfamiliar with religious places like shrines because Shinto is a religion that has very few followers outside Japan. Of course, if you come to Japan, you will be able to see different types of shrines. Their unique architectural colors will surely leave a deep impression on you. If you have some knowledge about the cultural history of Shinto shrines before you visit one, it will definitely add more interest to your visit. In the following, I would like to give a brief introduction to visiting shrines.

 

Firstly, in the front area of every Shinto shrine is placed a stone or wooden "Torii". In a sense, the Torii is the front gate of a Shinto shrine (it is used to separate the world of deities and the world of humans). After crossing the "Torii", all the areas inside are a "spiritual domain where the deities reside". For this reason, before entering the "Torii", Japanese people usually put their palms together, take a bow, and say: "excuse me for the disturbance." Between the "Torii" and the main hall is a divine path, beside which is a cleansing pool. The purpose of the cleansing pool is to allow visitors to cleanse their bodies before visiting the gods. For this reason, you have to pick up the bamboo scoop and wash your hands by pouring water over them. Also, gargling with the holy water can more deeply reflect your respect for the gods.

If you visit a major shrine, you will see a divine pool and a divine bridge around the divine path. When you walk the divine path, make sure you don't walk right in the middle, because it is where the deities are. After completing the divine path, your eyes will meet the shrine's most important building - the main hall. The main hall is divided into the temple (the holy temple) and the prayer hall. The place where people usually visit is the prayer hall, while the statutes of the divinities are usually located in deep inside the prayer hall. Between the temple and the prayer hall, there is a coin box which is used by worshipers to contribute incense money. Of course, there is no limit to the amount of money you can contribute. Japanese people generally contribute 5 yen because the pronunciation of five yen sounds similar to "fateful encounter" in Japanese. How can you judge that your worshipping method is correct? We can remember the saying: "Two bows, two claps, one bow." In short, you should bow twice, clap your hands on your chest twice, and then bow deeply again. After the ceremony, don't forget to shake the large bell hanging above the coin box. This practice is said to help bring good luck and ward off the evil spirits.

 

Similar to Chinese temples, Japanese shrines offer many divinations and explanations of the cryptic messages. This is what many tourists find the most delightful. You only have to put in 100 yen to draw a "divine tag." After drawing a tag, you can refer to the explanation on its back (it is easy for Chinese people to understand the explanation because it is written in the Chinese characters of classical Japanese). The "divine tag" is divided into the categories: "highly felicitous", "felicitous", "mildly felicitous", "infelicitous" and "highly infelicitous." If you are so unlucky as to have drawn an "infelicitous" or "highly infelicitous" tag, you will need to find a rope stuck with "divine tags" and hang your "infelicitous tag" on the rope in order to remove your misfortune.

 

Do you feel the urge to visit a shrine to experience all this? Here are four major shrines in Tokyo that I can recommend. If you are in a hurry, you must pay a visit to Meiji Jingu Shrine located in the bustling city center of Harajuku. This shrine not only has the world's largest "Torii" (made from wood and shipped from Taiwan) but also has several museums inside where some of Japan's national treasures are on display. The reason I am promoting the Meiji Shrine first is extremely important to the Japanese people. At the beginning of the new year, many people line up here overnight to pay their first yearly visit to the shrine. The second shrine I want to mention is the controversial Yasukuni Shrine. If you don't think about the deities worshiped in the Yasukuni Shrine, the architectural aesthetics of the Yasukuni Shrine are still very much worthy of appreciation. The third one is Hikawa Shrine in Kawagoe. If you want to transcend time and return to ancient Japan, you must visit Kawagoe because the ancient buildings are preserved here. Hikawa Shrine is located in Kawagoe city, and the most commendable aspect of this shrine is its wind chimes. Even from very far away, you can hear the melodious ring from this shrine. The last one is Akagi Shrine in Kagurazaka. It is said that the "divine tags" in this shrine are especially accurate. For this reason, many people travel a long away here specifically to seek good fortune.

Do you think all this is very interesting? Hurry up and come to experience loveinnjapan recommendation the wonders of Japan's Shinto shrines. While you are here, check out how well your fortune is faring today!

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Derrick

Derrick

Derrick has live in Japan for nearly five years. He is an ideal person to ask where to eat and where to visit in Japan based on his experience. He always likes to go to some places where not many people will go, because he believes that only the place he can find and understand the essence of Japan culture. He is also obsessed with looking for amazing food in all over Japan, and definitely, he can get you the best food experience by following his lead.

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