【Visit Japanese Shrine】How to pray at the Shrine in Japan?

Have you ever been to japanese shrine?

Japan has so many beautiful shrine.

However there has some rules when you pray in shrine.

Here, I am going to tell some rules to pray in shrine.
There has heaps of rules,so I only picked up some rules that are easy and important things.

If you still never been to shrine yet or even if you went before,

Let’s knowing about how to visit Japanese Shrine and enjoy to visit Shrine!

How to pray at the Shrine?

5 steps for visiting Shrine!

  1. Go through the 鳥居(TORII)
  2. Walking 参道(SANDOU)
  3. Washing your hands in 手水舎(TEMIZUYA)
  4. Give お賽銭(OSAISEN)
  5. Pray

Let me explain one by one!

1.Go through the 鳥居(TORII)

At first, you need to go through the 鳥居(TORII).

What is 鳥居(TORII)?

鳥居(TORII)is a gate for Shrine and normally you can see it at the entrance of the Shrine.

like this↓

How to go through the 鳥居(TORII)

  1. Bow before through the 鳥居(TORII).

  2. Go through the 鳥居(TORII)

You can not walk in the middle when you go through the 鳥居(TORII). You need to walk on the edge because the middle is for the God.

Walking 参道(SANDOU)

After go through the 鳥居(TORII), you can walk 参道(SANDOU).

What is 参道(SANDOU)?

参道(SANDOU) is the way which is from 鳥居(TORII) to the place where you will pray.

like this↓

How to walk 参道(SANDOU)?

  1. You need to walk on the edge when you walk 参道(SANDOU).
    Please do not walk in the middle because we believe that God will walk in the middle.

3.Washing your hands in 手水舎(TEMIZUYA)

You need to wash your hands and your mouth at the 手水舎(TEMIZUYA).

You can clean your hands and also your mind before praying.

What is 手水舎(TEMIZUYA)

It is a place to clean your mind and body by washing your hands and rinsing your mouth before visiting god.

like this↓

How to wash your hands in 手水舎(TEMIZUYA)

  1. Use 柄杓(HISYAKU)which is like a spoon and you can wash your left hand.

  2. And then you can wash your right hand

  3. Get water in your left hand and put that water to your mouth and rinsing your mouth
  4. Sprinkle water on your left hand again
  5. Tilt the 柄杓(HISYAKU)to drain excess water


The most important thing is that you need to wash your hands from your left hand.

You can check this video!

Wash your left hands →Wash right hands→rinse your mouth with water in your left hands→wash left hand again→tilt 柄杓(HISYAKU)to drain ecess water

4.Give お賽銭(OSAISEN)

You can give お賽銭(OSAISEN) at 拝殿(HAIDEN)

Let me explain what is 拝殿(HAIDEN) and also what is お賽銭(OSAISEN).

What is 拝殿(HAIDEN)?

拝殿(HAIDEN)is the place where is just in front of the god and you can pray there.

like that↓

What is お賽銭(OSAISEN)とは?

Money dedicated to god or buddha

Does not matter about the price you put.

So, you can decided the price whatever you want, but Japanese prefer to pur 5 Yen because 5 Yen calls [GOEN]in Japanese and [GOEN]means [fate] so we believe that if we put 5Yen, we can get something good.

How to give お賽銭(OSAISEN)?

  1. Bow in front of the 拝殿(HAIDEN).
  2. Put お賽銭(OSAISEN) in the box.

    Box is like that and called it お賽銭箱(OSAISENBAKO)↓

Please do not through お賽銭(OSAISEN) and put gently


Ended up you can pray in front of 拝殿(HAIDEN).

How to pray

  • If there has a bell, you can ring the bell.(If there has no bell, you can do step2)

  • Bow twice

  • Applaud twice

  • Close your eyes and gently put your hands together in front of your chest=合掌(GASSHOU)

  • Tell your wishes in your heart

  • Bow once
  • Leave the 拝殿(HAIDEN)

You can watch video to better understanding!

When you leave Shrine, you can bow once in front of 鳥居(TORII).

At the end

I explain about basic rules to visit Japanese Shrine.

Japan has so many awsome Shrine!

In Kyoto, there has so many famous and popular shrine such as 八坂神社(YASAKAJINJA) or 伏見稲荷(FUSHIMIINARI) you can watch so many TORII calles 千本鳥居(SENBON TORII).

Please go one day and pray in there!

If you wish to know more about Japanese or Japanese culture, also if you want to study Japanese,

You can book Japanese lesson from this site!

Please check here and find your teacher!

Have a god day!

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Sarinaです。 旅行が好きで10カ国以上の国へ行きました!現在はオンラインで日本語教師をしています。 ベトナムやアメリカ、韓国など様々な国の学習ささんと楽しく授業をしています!