All about Japan

Things to Remember When Visiting Temples in Japan

Japan is an incredibly interesting country. At least once in a lifetime, Japan should be visited. Many believe that in Japan you can see geishas, ​​cherry blossoms and eat sushi. However, this country does not end there.

Many experienced tourists recommend starting a trip in the spring. At this time, the country is able to demonstrate all its positive qualities. This article will discuss 5 good reasons to visit Japan in the spring.

Kites

The inhabitants of the country actively celebrate incredibly interesting holidays in the spring, which certainly do not exist in other countries. For example, a traditional festival called Hamamatsu. The history of the holiday is incredibly interesting, and it has been going on for 430 years.

For the first time, kites took to the sky in the 16th century. The locals liked this tradition so much that they still celebrate the holiday and fly a huge number of kites. It looks incredibly beautiful.

Flower Festival

Throughout May, the country hosts a flower festival called Funji Shibazakura. For a whole month, the foot of the mountain turns into a real fairy tale, because phlox of different colors bloom.

A tourist can walk along special alleys where he can enjoy flowers. There is also the opportunity to go upstairs and enjoy the beautiful view.

In addition, there is a wonderful spa center on the banks of Ryujin-Ike Pond, where you can try real flower baths. And of course, it is worth stopping by the restaurant and having a wonderful lunch; a beautiful view opens from the terrace of this institution.

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The culture of modern Japanese people is very different from other peoples of the world. And the religion of ancient Japan contributed to this state of affairs. The mentality of the inhabitants of the country of the Rising Sun can be opposed to the way of thinking of the citizens of any European state. And since Japan has been a closed and non-contact country for a long period, the view of the world that grew out of totemism and Shinto has firmly settled in the minds and hearts of the Japanese.

The Roots of the Ancient Religion of Japan

Around the 6th century, processes began in Japan to unite several religions, which were already popular in the country at that time. Initially, the simple beliefs of the Japanese were based on the spiritualization of all life on earth. They believed that the world came about as a result of a spontaneous desire for heaven and earth. Goddess Izanami and God Izanagi gave birth to the Sun Goddess Amaterasu, who was especially revered in Japan. And the Japanese islands themselves, according to legend, appeared from drops that fell from a spear raised from the World Ocean and hardened. It was God Izanagi who raised this spear, and is still considered the founder of this state.

The above legend is the main one in the ancient Japanese religion "Shinto", or Shintoism. By the way, this religious movement was formed without Chinese influence. And it included the following postulates:

  • Life is everywhere. A stone, a man, an insect, water - everything has a spirit, lives and thinks;
  • Any material object in the world has a kami (soul);
  • Special attitude to stones. The Japanese believed that after death a person's soul was enclosed in a stone to protect his family;
  • The unity of nature and people is the highest value in Shinto;
  • There are no contrasts, divisions into good and bad;
  • Yin and Yang exist in harmony, being the basis of the universe.

Since the fourth century, when the Mongol tribes occupied the territories of the future Japan, there were beliefs in magic, animism and totemism. Up to the 7th century, these areas were actively developing together with the peoples themselves. Then, thanks to the influence of China, its language and culture, Confucianism and Buddhism appeared in Japan.

Shinto is a mythological belief in the divine origin of the Japanese people. Based on aspects of religion, any Japanese was considered a descendant of second-rate spirits, and the emperor himself was a descendant of the spirits of the sky itself.

The cult of ancestors and the worship of mother nature - these are the theses that aroused sacred awe in every inhabitant of Japan. As such, there was no centralization of divine power, but there was a variety of spheres where different kami (souls) lived.

In addition to the huge pantheon of official Gods and Goddesses, all families in Japan had their own deities, which they worshiped right in the courtyards of their homes. Small stone structures were erected for the deified ancestors. According to the records of that time, there were no special rituals or ritual actions at that time. And even the religion itself got its name from the Chinese, not from the Japanese. Its name in translation sounded like "the way of the local Gods".

Buddhism, which penetrated the land of the Rising Sun, and put down strong roots there in the Middle Ages, can be called a superstructure of the main Japanese religion. Shintoism and Buddhism have grown tightly together, almost not contradicting each other. So even the temples of the two religions looked similar. In Buddhist temples, a separate altar was sometimes erected to honor ancestral spirits. And in Shinto temples, there were still simplified rituals of worshiping totem figurines that symbolized deities. After reciting the magic formulas, priests (kannushi) and parishioners left modest gifts in Shinto shrines: seafood, vegetables, fruits and rice.

Those who professed the religion of their ancestors had to implicitly obey the divine authority of the emperor, as well as the authority of those who are higher on the public hierarchical ladder. In the 19th century, Buddhism was banned, and Shintoism disintegrated into small branches that harmoniously complemented each other. But in 1889, a law was passed for the Japanese that allowed freedom of religion. And Buddhism returned to Japan legally. Shinto, on the other hand, became a family religion, where each clan could practice its own version of Shinto, or change it to another at will.

Japan is a country with a deep religious culture. Arriving, be sure to visit the temples. According to the beliefs of the local population, the temple is a place where the gods live and listen to the prayers of people. Therefore, in order not to neglect the Japanese Spirit, tourists should pay attention to a few things when visiting temples in Japan.

What to do when visiting temples in Japan

Shinto shrines are sacred places. Therefore, when visiting these temples while traveling to Japan, visitors should observe the following rules so as not to be disrespectful of the gods.

When entering the gate

There is a Torii gate at the entrance to temples in Japan. Depending on where the entrance is, Torii will have different sizes (large or small), or multiple entrances. Upon entering the gate, visitors should bow their heads slightly while praying to greet God. In addition, from this moment on, it is necessary to limit the conversation, the speed of movement or food on the territory of the temple.

At the entrance to the temple

From the Torria Gate, there is a direct path inward. In particular, visitors absolutely should not walk in the middle of the road to temples in Japan, because this is where the Spirit should go. We can only snuggle on the left or right side of this path.

Wash your hands

Going to Shinto shrines, you will see a small pool (water pavilion) to wash your body and heart before meeting God. The first is the right hand holding the bucket of water to wash your left hand, and then move to the bucket of water in your left hand to wash your right hand. Next, pour water into your left hand and bring it to your mouth. Finally, flip the ladle in mid-air to allow water to drain down the ladle to flush the handle. Guests remember to follow the hand washing procedure when visiting temples in Japan.

When you pray

Visitors can deposit money in the "Merit Box", a donation box. Then spin the prayer wheel to invoke God and keep spinning to worship God. After shaking the drums, the attendees knelt down, clapped their hands loudly and clasped their hands to pray for what they wanted. Finally, the last bow before God before returning.

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