What is the difference between temples and shrines? 1. Shinto

Published by Hiromi Nishiwaki on

Hi! This is Lena.  I am Multi Lingual Cultural Promoter.
I promote Japanese culture and items in multi ♠language♠.

Today I'd like to explain the difference between Shrines and Temples.

First, I give outline, and then explain Shinto, Buddhism respectively, and Finally, I conclude.

1. Summary

Japanese People practice the following two religions, both consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally.

One is Shinto and the other is Buddhism.

Shinto is practiced for earthy matters, such as, at the time of wedding ceremony, childbirth, or wishing for business success.

On the other hand, Buddhism is practiced for ”afterlife" matters, such as, on funeral or praying for ancestor.

This means most Japanese belong to both Shintoism and Buddhism.

Shinto is tolerant religion and haven't rejected the arrival of Buddhism in 6th Century from India via China and Korea. They have consisted for more than 1500 years.

Mie Mount Gozaisho

Mie Mount Gozaisho


Shinto is an ingenious religion of Japan, it doesn't have a specific founder nor scripture. It is polytheism. Gods are enshrined in a sacred place called "Jinja" (Shinto shrine).

In Shinto, nature itself is considered as god.

It is said that God lives in mountains, trees, rocks, winds, etc. This is why we find many shrines when we climb mountains.

Having said Shito is polytheism,Most Notable /highest status God should be Amaterasu Ominokami (天照大神), Sun Goddess. Another notable god are, Susanoo (素戔男尊), the storm god, younger brother of Ameterasu, Okuninushi(大国主神) , from Izumo land (today's shimane), god of marriage and connection, who saved poor little rabbit , flayed and raw-skinned , Sarudahiko(猿田彦大神), the god of guidance, who made significant contribution for creation of Japan, by guiding Ninigi no mikoto(瓊瓊杵尊), the great-grandfather of Emperor Jinmu, the first Emperor Japan .



While Japanese people awe Shinto God, now you know actually Shinto Gods have distinctive characters and unique like human.  You can enjoy such stories by Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) and Nihonhoki (The Chronicles of Japan) written in 711 and 720 respectively.

At the entrance of the shrine there is a sacred red gate called Torii. Their Top is connected. Torii is a boundary between world of human and god. After passing Torii, it is a believed that we are in sacred area.

One of the most important ideology of Shinto is "purification". That is why we cleanse our hand and month, before seeing Shinto God.

I would like to encourage you to check manner of Shinto worship before you visit Shinto Shrine.

Although, many Japanese today also doesn't know about official manner to worship Shinto God, however still though, you'll feel more comfortable at Shrine, if knowing manner.

By the way, Shinto God doesn't reject people who have different religion for prayer.

Two Most Famous Shinto shrines in Japan, are Ise Shrine and Izumo Taisha Shrine.

Office Flora Art Promotion

Office Flora Art Promotion





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Mosan Garaku Gama Pawlownia Wood Box

Mosan Garaku Gama Pawlownia Wood Box

Have a nice day!


Hiromi Nishiwaki

Office Flora "JAPANOPHILE " Promotion was founded as a Japanese culture Research firm in 2017. We provide exciting information on Japanese Art and Culture and offer intellectual excitements though the prism of Hiromi Nishiwaki. We provide deep insights about Japanese traditional culture and Art from a Western perspective while keeping the core concepts from the Japanese Spiritual and traditional values intact. Our mission is to contribute to world happiness and prosperity.

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