Let’s Step into the World of Kamisama – How to Visit Shrine –
The word “Kamisama” means “god” in Japanese.
Visiting shrine is one of the most exciting things to do in Kyoto trip. But shrine is originally a place where “Kamisama” is worshiped.
The religious culture in Japan might be really weird for the most of people in the world.
Japanese people visit Shinto shrine on the new year’s day, have a wedding in Christian church, and hold Buddhism funeral. If you ask some Japanese people what religion they belong to, most of them might not be able to answer soon.
In order to understand this complicated Japanese religious custom, you must know what is “Shinto”.
In this article, I would like to introduce to Japanese indigenous religion “Shinto”. You will understand the Japanese people’s belief, and visiting shrine will be much more fun!
What is Shrine?
There are thousands of shrine in Kyoto. Fushimi Inari Shrine, Yasaka Shrine, Shimogamo Shrine… All these places are always crowded with tourists from all over the world.
However, have you noticed that each shrine has a different god?
Some shrines worship the god of business and some worship the god of study. If you walk around the city of Kyoto, you can find a variety of god in various shrines.
Why are there such many gods in Shinto?
I think this is really unique culture among others in the world, and also it is really important idea in order to understand Japanese religious belief.
“Nature” has a key role to explain why Japanese people believe plural gods.
Japan is a country surrounded by abundant nature. Seas on all four sides, mountains running along the island, and rivers flowing from those mountains. Nature is sometimes really harsh to people’s life. However, at the same time, people in Japan have gotten huge blessings from nature.
They have appreciated those blessings from nature and attempted to coexist with nature. This is the origin of the Japanese Shinto.
People have believed that a god dwells in all elements in nature. So, there are a variety of god in Shinto, such as the god of ocean, and the god of river and the god of weather. In addition to that people have believed a variety of god, each village has had its own god as a guardian. Mountains, rocks and trees have been worshiped as god in various villages. Buildings were constructed around those things, and this is the origin of shrine.
The religion which is now called Shinto is the gathering of this variety of indigenous god in various regions. Therefore, there are a number of god in Japanese Shinto. Japanese people says “Yaoyorozu no Kami”(八百万の神), it means “eight millions of god”.
So, why Japanese people visit shine, temple, and church?
This is because they have believed a variety of god and accepted a different religious god.
A Variety of Unique God in Kyoto
This is probably the most famous shrine in Kyoto. It has a mysterious atmosphere with a lot of toriis (gates of shrine). This shrine worships the god of business.
Kitano Tenmangu is located in the west of the city. It worships the god of study. This shrine is really crowded with so many students.
Jishu Jinja is one of the most famous shrines worshiping the god of love. Two stones are in the shrine. It is said that if you success to walk from one stone to another with closing your eyes, you would get your wish about love!
Guess what kind of god this shrine worships! Yes, as you can see from its looking, it has the god of money. It is located in the center of the city. Check it out if you want to get good luck on money!
Among all shrine having an unique god in Kyoto, the uniqueness of this shrine is outstanding. This shrine worships the god of electricity. It is worth visiting if you have a desire about PC, mobile or other electric stuff.
How to Visit Shrine Properly!
We will show you the proper manner and rules to keep in mind when visiting a Shinto shrine! Check the video from the below!!
The Japanese religious belief is perhaps really complicated. It might be so much different from the others in the world. However, understanding the religions in Japan is really beneficial for going sightseeing in Kyoto. I am glad if this article helped your understanding of Japan!
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