7 popular shrines -Kansai-

There are many shrines in Japan.
Among them, we will introduce the most popular Kansai shrines.
If you ever visit near Osaka or Kyoto, make sure to visit.

Ise Shrine (Ise City, Mie Prefecture)




伊勢神宮 / ISE-JINGU(@isejingu.official)がシェアした投稿 -

It is a truly solemn place where you feel a holy presence.
Ordinary shrines have fortune-telling items like omikuji, but Ise Shrine does not. Simply being able to visit means great luck.
The feeling of the trees that are hundreds of years old after the rain settles is one the you can only experience at Ise Shrine.
The atmosphere is different inside and outside the shrine. Ise Shrine is said to only invite those with money and health (or allows only those), so if you decide to go, please visit and enjoy the divine atmosphere.

Ogami Shrine (Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture)




加藤 なほ(@nara_yamato.mana)がシェアした投稿 -

It is the oldest shrine in Japan.
Located at the foot of the spiritual Mt. Miwa, which is believed to have a god in every plant and tree, Ogami Shrine is a shrine that does not have a main shrine, but instead uses this mountain as its location.
The worship hall rebuilt by the 4th shogun Tokugawa Kazuna is a magnificent building with a strong presence that has a cultivated style.
Ogami Shrine is of course wonderful, but it's a waste if you also don't visit the surrounding shrines and structures.
Definitely go for a visit.

Todaiji (Nara City, Nara Prefecture)




東大寺 / Tōdaiji Temple(@todaiji.official)がシェアした投稿 -

Not only is size of the Buddha overwhelming, there is also the majesty of the Great Buddha Hall, and you will feel the weight of this shrine's history. Most of all, it is powerful and magnificent and will cleanse your heart.
However, one thing to note is that there are many deer in Todaiji.
There are deer everywhere, and they may come from behind suddenly. Also, since there is a lot of feces, it is necessary to walk with care not to step on it.
This is a place we would like you to visit once because we think that you can have a different experience from other shrines.



Rurikoin (Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture)




S A Y A(@sayaraman.515)がシェアした投稿 -

It is a beautiful place where the red fallen leaves are quite beautiful.
The autumn crimson leaves are wonderful, and the autumn leaves reflected on the shiny polished sutra desk are more overwhelming after the leaves have changed their color.
However, it is only available for a limited time, so please check before you go.
In addition, because it is a very popular place, numbered tickets are distributed before you buy tickets and the time is specified, so please be careful.

Enkoji (Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture)




nico( ¨̮ )♥(@nico__0205)がシェアした投稿 -

The peak of autumn leaves is around the end of November to the beginning of December.
The temple and garden are small, and you can climb the back mountain to see the autumn colors and the streets of Kyoto.
Because it is a little-known place partly because the transportation is inconvenient, it should be a place where you can enjoy some peace and quiet. It's beautiful not only in the autumn but also in the green season, so please go visit.

Eikando Zenrinji (Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture)




くらまち(@kuramati01)がシェアした投稿 -

Zenrinji is the main temple of the "Jodo Buddhism Nishiyama Zenrinji School". The official name is Zenrinji. The statue of Amida Nyorai in the main hall is called "Mikaeri Amida," with its face facing diagonally behind. It is so famous for its autumn foliage that Eikando is said to be the go-to spot for it. There are also blue autumn leaves amongst the red and yellow leaves, and the contrast is wonderful. It takes about an hour and a half to slowly tour around the temple and pond. At night, it is lit up and is very beautiful.
The blue trees are nice, but the autumn leaves are still the most recommended.
Please enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Sanjusangendo (Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture)




tazzi(@omakasetazzi)がシェアした投稿 -

There are many Senju Kannon statues in Sanjusangendo, and the current number is 1001. The admission fee is 600 yen, but we think it's worth the price.
Once you enter the room that is long sideways, you will be overwhelmed by the number and size of the rooms, and at the same time you will lose your words due to its majestic appearance. The wind god, thunder god, and Nijuuhachibushu are designated as national treasures. The wind god and thunder god are placed on the left and right sides of the hall, and the Nijuuhachibushu are placed in front of the Kannon statue and on the four sides of the Chuson. There are detailed descriptions in English as well so please read them.
It's a wonderful place that will make you think of various things.

How was it? We're sure you've found a shrine that interests you.
We don't know when the current world will settle down, but when it does, please visit. Also, we hope this article will give you a fresh feeling as if you were traveling to Japan.

Japanese traditions

-New Year’s Traditions-


It is the day of welcoming and celebrating the New Year, and offering a memorial service for your ancestors. An annual event that the Japanese value most in a year. It can be said to be the basis of Japanese life.


・New Year’s Eve

December 31 is called Omisoka.

It involves cleaning up, *1 preparing Osechi (New Year's food), *2 eating Toshikoshisoba (New Year's soba) with your family, *3 listening to Joyanokane at midnight, and wishing for a good start to the year.



Visit a religious temple by Matsunouchi (until January 7th). *4 This is a ritual to greet the Toshi-kamisama (zodiac) for 4 years




It's the first water you drink in the early morning of New Year's Day. Also called Hatsumizu. It is spent to prepare a meal for the New Year gods.



Giving greetings to people and relatives who have supported you.



Foretelling the fortune of the year with the content of your dreams seen on New Year's Day. *5 Ichi-Fuji, Ni-taka, San-nasubi" (First Fuji, second eagle, third eggplant) are said to be good dreams.



Also known as Kotohajime. Working for the first time in the new year. It is generally adjusted to the government office's schedule.



On the morning of the 7th, eat the "seven herb soup" containing the spring herbs of "seri, nazuna, gogyo, hakobera, hotokenoza, suzuna, suzushiro".



On January 11, eat *6 Kagami-mochi as * 7 oshiruko (soup). Split this with a hammer. The reason is that cutting with a knife is considered bad luck and unpure.



※1Osechi: Ceremonious food for New Year’s


※2 Toshikoshisoba: Soba eaten on New Year’s eve. It includes the hope of living long with no sickness for the upcoming year.


※3 Joyanokane: Temple bells rung at midnight on New Year’s Eve


※4 Toshi-kamisama (zodiac): A god descending from high mountains in order to bring happy New Year’s to homes.


※5 Ichi-fuji ni-taka san-nasubi: Among the things that you can dream of in your first dream, this is a phrase that lists the things that are said to mean good luck.


※6 Kagamimochi: A rice cake that is made flat and round, and has double layers large and small. Offered to the gods and decorated during New Year's.


※7 Oshiruko: This is a food made by adding rice cake, white rice dumplings etc. to the soup of red beans sweetly boiled with sugar.


-Spring traditions-



First day of spring. “Oniwa-soto, fukuwa-uchi” (demons outside, fortune inside) is chanted while throwing beans.



A hina doll is displayed to celebrate this festival of girls. March 3 is the most common date, but in snowy areas, it is sometimes held on April 3. Dolls are considered an amulet and a substitute for girls.



A custom to bask in the arrival of spring by viewing plum and cherry blossoms. Sakura blooms from March. The whole of Japan is bustling around May, when the sakuras head north and reach Nemuro in Hokkaido.


-Summer traditions-



After ※8 hachijuhachiya passes, and May 5th rolls around signaling the beginning of spring, it is time for the boy's festival. It was incorporated from Chinese folk customs. May dolls and warrior decorations are displayed with the hope to help boys grow up healthy. Customs such as *9 koi-nobori that swim in the skies, *10 kashiwa mochi and *11 chimaki, * 12 shobu-yu, *13 and ken-sho also remain.



A star festival derived from the legend that Hikoboshi (Altair) meets Orihime (Vega) in the Milky Way on the night of July 7. Tanabata was originally called "Kitsukouden."




It means the memorial service of the dead and the memorial service of the living spirits. It falls on what was the Day of Atonement of China. It is a day of celebrating that we were able to live in peace.


・Bon memorial service

It has a long history, and it is recorded that it was first held in the imperial palace on July 15th in 606. It is an event where Buddhist prayers and prayers for good harvest overlap. Bon-iri, Shinfutsu-kuyo, Bon-odori, and Okuri-bon are rituals that still remain.



It is a memorial service for ancestors and prayer for good harvest and to rid of bad energy. The fact that there are still religious rituals to this day is a remnant of this. The fact that women cannot carry u *14 is related to Shinto rituals.


※8 Hachijuhachiya:The 88thd day since the first day of spring. Around May 2. A period where farmers plant seeds.


※9 Koi-nobori: A Japanese custom in which families in the Edo Period would have streamers in the shape of a carp waving in the wind, to pray for their boys to grow healthily.


※10 Kashiwa mochi: It is a Japanese confectionery made by putting bean paste on a round rice cake, folding it in half and wrapping it in Kashiwa-no-ha. This "Kashiwa-no-ha" is a special leaf, and the characteristic is that old leaves fall only after new shoots emerge. It is said that this feature led to the ideas of "the family line never ends" and "the prosperity of the descendants" and it spread due to this sense of good fortune.


※11 Chimaki: Steamed rice cake wrapped with kaya and bamboo leaves.


※12 Shobu-yu: A bath in which the roots and leaves of irises are put and boiled.


※13 Ken-sho: Bundles of lotus and iris leaves are lowered from the roof of the eaves of houses. Lotus and irises are plants that remove evil. By lowering these from the eaves, they prevent bad energy from coming in from the outside.



-Autumn traditions-



Since ancient times in Manyo, people have been paying close attention to flowers, birds, the wind and moon, and appreciate the beauty of nature. Just as there are many famous spots for sakura, there are similar spots for the moon, such as Katsurahama in Kochi. From long ago to now, people view the mid-autumn moon, such as on the 15th and 13th night.


・Autumn equinox

Beginning on September 21, memorial services for the ancestors are held for 7 days.


・Aki matsuri

They are all tied to agricultural rituals. The Autumn Festival is said to be a village festival, but it is because good harvest and good catch of fish were considered congratulatory events on a village-wide scale.



As we dive deeper into autumn and when frost begins to fall, deciduous trees in the mountains begin to color and autumn leaves start to show. It is said that the autumn scenery looks like brocade. There are many famous spots for autumn colors such as Nikko, Hakone, and Yabakei, and the autumn leaves front runs from north to south.


-Winter traditions-


A ceremony to celebrate the growth of children on November 15th. There are "Kamioki" (growing hair) for 3-year-old boys and girls, "Hakamagi" (wearing hakama for the first time) for 5-year-old boys, and "Obitoki" (wearing kimono for the first time) for 7-year-old girls.



A gift for the end of the year. It is said that Chinese events are the source of year-end gifts. It is the same as Chugen, in which food is mainly given to those who you are grateful for.



It is one of the twenty-four divisions of the solar year and falls around December 22nd. There are customs for each region, such as eating pumpkin and bathing in yuzu-yu *14.



From Edo to Taisho, people were doing a house-clean sweep on December 13th. From the Showa era, there is a history that the day of house-cleaning became optional.


※14 Yuzu-yu: A bath with a citron.





How was it?

There are many other traditions in Japan.

It may be fun to research these if you are interested.


What is the popular “goshuin” in Japan?

What is goshuin?

"Goshuin" is a seal that is stamped for worshipers at shrines and temples.

In addition to the seal, it is common to stamp the date of worship, the name of the shrine or temple.

In addition, the book used to have the goshuin stamped is called a "goshuincho".

It is said that the origin of the goshuin was the reception stamp that was used as proof that a sutra was paid to a temple or shrine.


Where are goshuincho sold?

At present, you can purchase goshuincho in various places.

You can get them at some stationery stores or Amazon and other mail order stores, and temples and shrines have their original goshuincho as well. As for the price, most are 1500 yen to 2000 yen.

One of the best parts is to find the design, size and paper quality that is perfect for you.

At temples and shrines that have goshuincho, they can be purchased at their offices.

Definitely get yourself a goshuincho!


Let’s go buy goshuin!

Fujiyoshida, Japan - June 08, 2018: The Chureito Pagoda, a five-storied pagoda also known as the Fujiyoshida Cenotaph Monument, on the top of viewpoint can see mt. Fuji on the background.

When you visit a temple or shrine to get a goshuin, first worship.

How to worship at a shrine

  1. One bow before passing the torii
  2. Do not walk in the sando as much as possible
  3. Cleanse yourself in purification fountain
  • Hold the ladle with your right hand, draw water, and pour it on your left hand.
  • Switch the ladle to your left hand and wash your right hand as well.
  • Once again, hold the ladle with your left hand, and rinse your mouth with the water in your left hand.(Don't put your mouth on the ladle)
  • Wash your left hand, put up the ladle, pour water over the handle you touched with the remaining water and clean it, then return the ladle to its original location.
  1. In front of the worship hall, make an offer, ring the bell if there is one, and worship with two bows, two claps and one bow
  • For the most polite manner of worship, it is one slight bow, two bows, two claps, one bow and one final slight bow. This is just a common worship practice, and at Izumo Taisha people clap four times instead.


We briefly introduced the worship practices, but we wrote it in more detail in the previous article.

Please have a look!



Hot receive a goshuin


After you are done worshipping, look for a shrine office and get a goshuin.

If you are not sure where it is, we recommend asking a priest or shrine maiden.


Once you get to where you can receive a goshuin

  1. Open the page that you want stamped in your goshuincho
  2. Tell the person in charge that you want to get a goshuin.
  3. Check your goshuin after you have received it.


Things to watch out for

  •  We recommend that you prepare small change so that you do not need to receive change.(You can usually receive goshuin for 300-500 yen)
  • Confirm whether it is your goshuincho.


How was it?

Goshuin have different designs depending on the temple and shrine, and each one is wonderful.

Why don't you visit the shrines and temples while collecting goshuin?

What is an omamori?

What is an omamori?


Omamori is a Japanese type of amulet for praying for good luck and warding off misfortune.

It is sometimes thought that a certain power sits within a person, animal, plant or stone, and can be used as an omamori as well.

Some are artificially made items in the shape of notes and accessories.


Meaning of omamori


We would like to introduce you to the meaning of omamori at shrines and temples.

First of all, the most common misconception is that just having an omamori makes your wish come true.

As mentioned above, an omamori is a sorcerous item, but it is not an item which makes your goals come true just by owning it.


What is “mamori”?


The origin of the word "mamori" is "me-mamoru" (see and protect).

In other words, "omamori" means "the gods and Buddha are watching over."

Having an omamori essentially tells the gods and Buddha that "I will do my best to fulfill my wishes, so please watch over me as I embark on this journey."



Simply possessing an omamori is meaningless


If the wishes come true with the efforts of the person himself or herself, what is the point of possessing an omamori?

However, it is difficult for people to continue their efforts unless someone monitors them.

Students can go to school or cram school because they can focus better if they are being watched by teachers.

However, if the observer is a person, those who are being watched tend to have a feeling of dissatisfaction, and tend to focus on anger and frustration rather than working hard.

Since gods and Buddha are far from human beings, such feelings will be less likely to occur.

Having an omamori means to foster a spirit of humble and continuous effort by having the gods and Buddha watch over them.



Is it true that omamori fight with one another?


We sometimes hear that if you have omamori of various temples and shrines, the omamori will quarrel with each other.

Even if you don't have an omamori the gods and Buddha watch over us, but the omamori is to keep that feeling close to you.

Having a lot of omamori is equivalent to being watched by that many more gods and Buddhas, so it might actually be too intense and tiring.




There are various ways of thinking about omamori.

The one introduced here is just one of the ways of thinking.

However, one thing we can say for sure is don't forget your gratitude.

Originally the omamori was regarded as the alter ego of gods, so it is rude to treat it poorly.

Although you need to pay for the omamori, you should not take it for granted that you will benefit from it simply by doing so, so let's express our gratitude and be thankful that it always protects us.

7 scenic hot springs in Japan

Atami Onsen (Shizuoka)

Quote : https://atami.ooedoonsen.jp/


More than anything, Atami Onsen has great access!

Atami Onsen in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture is one of the three major hot springs in Japan.

It is popular for its easy access of 45 minutes by Shinkansen from Tokyo.

Boasting a generous amount of water, its mild alkaline water is gentle on the skin, making it a popular choice by women as well.

You can walk around and eat delicious foods that receive the blessings of Sagami Bay in the onsen town, use footbaths, and enjoy other various activities.

If you got to Atami that’s full of charm, then you will surely be able to spend time sightseeing without getting bored!



Yufuin (Oita)

Quote : http://www.yufuin.gr.jp/

Yufuin is located in the center of Oita Prefecture.

Yufumi Street, which extends from Yufuin Station to the hot spring area, is lined with stylish cafes and general stores, making it a great place to take a walk around.

Also, there are no red-light districts that are often found in hot-spring areas, which would explain why it's popular among women as well.

As you pass through the bustling hot spring town, you will find a bunch of accommodations surrounded by nature.

You will surely be fascinated by the luxurious inn of Yufuin, which boasts the number one spot of all of Kyushu's hot springs!



Beppu Onsen (Oita)

Quote : http://www.gokuraku-jigoku-beppu.com/entries/complete-guide-otherquality

This is another hot spring in Oita Prefecture.

Beppu Onsen is a hot spring town centered around Beppu City, Oita Prefecture.

As a representative of hot spring towns, there are many hot springs with various qualities.

"Jigoku Meguri" ("Hell tour") is a popular way to sightsee the amazing wonders of the spring source, and among them, "Chi-no-ike Jigoku" ("Blood pond hell" is Japan's oldest natural spring source that has existed for more than 1,300 years.

Hell tours is simply about going around hot springs, right? Is it interesting? Some of you must be thinking this, but please definitely give it a try.

We think that you will have quite a lot of fun, as if you are visiting a theme park.

However, since each one is far away, it may be more convenient to have a car.

In 2009, it was designated a national scenic spot.

Beppu Onsen is close to the station and there are many sightseeing spots so it will make for a great trip.


Arima Onsen (Hyogo)

Quote : http://www.arima-onsen.com/

Arima Onsen, located in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture, is one of Japan's three oldest hot springs.

It is one of the most famous hot springs named in The Pillow Book, and one of the hot springs loved by Taiko Hideyoshi, as well being known for the red latticed “Taikobashi” located at the entrance of the hot spring town, and fully displays its history.

Despite being less than an hour from Kobe and Osaka, the hot spring town is located at a deep mountain range of 350m to 500m, with narrow roads and steep slopes.

You will enjoy a trip that lets you feel its history while also healing you at the same time.


Shirosaki Onsen (Hyogo)

Quote : http://www.kinosaki-spa.gr.jp/information/yumeguri/4.html

This is also a nice hot spring in Hyogo prefecture.

Shirosaki Onsen, located in Shirosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo Prefecture, is a hot spring with a history of 1300 years.

Yanagi trees are lined up like a tunnel along the Otani River, which flows along the hot springs, and many people who visit the 7 hot springs in yukata along with Taiko Bridge and wooden inns bring out the harmony in the hot spring town.

There are many places to enjoy, such as Kiyamachi-Kouji and Shirosaki Ropeway in the middle of the hot spring town!


Okuhida Onsen Village (Gifu)

Quote : https://www.okuhida.or.jp/image

Okuhida Onsen Village is home to five hot spring areas (Hirayu Onsen, Fukuchi Onsen, Shinhirayu Onsen, Tochio Onsen, Shinhotaka Onsen) in Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture.

The scenery of the outdoor bath, which is said to be the best in Japan, is located in the great nature surrounded by the Northern Alps (famous peaks such as Mount Norikura, Mount Kasagatake, and Hotaka Mountains).

The scenery that changes according to the four seasons is also beautiful, and especially in autumn, it is a beauty that is also selected in the "33 Hida / Mino Autumn Leaves Selection".

Why don't you enjoy the good old Japanese atmosphere in the Okuhida Onsen Village in the mountains?



Gero Onsen (Gifu)

Quote : http://www.gero-spa.or.jp/

Another introduction to hot springs in Gifu Prefecture.

Gifu Prefecture has many wonderful hot springs.

Next up is Gero Onsen.

Gero Onsen, located in Gero City, Gifu Prefecture, is one of Japan's three great springs.

The center of the hot spring town is Hida River, where inns are located mainly along the river.

In addition, there is a unisex outdoor bath called “Funsenike” along the river, which is a symbol of Gero Onsen.

During walks, there are also foot baths where you can take a break easily, which is helpful.

How to properly use a chopstick rest

Learning how to properly use chopsticks is basically mandatory if you are an adult.

The next step you should remember is how to use the "chopstick rest."

When you eat at a store where a chopstick rest is prepared, do you always put your chopsticks on it?

This time we would like to explain how to put chopsticks on a chopstick rest.


Why use a chopstick rest?


Chopstick rests prevent the chopsticks from sticking directly to the table when resting the chopsticks during a meal.

Having a chopstick rest makes it possible to eat cleanly without having to stain the table.

In addition, it makes it more stable and can prevent the chopsticks from rolling off.



Potential manner violations caused by not using a chopstick rest

You may sometimes put chopsticks directly on a plate, without using a chopstick rest.

However, this is a violation known as "watashibashi".

It is said that it has a bad luck because it represents the image of a bridge to the Styx, and watashibashi is also a way of saying that you can't eat anymore, so definitely avoid this.


If a chopstick rest is not prepared, you have no choice but to do watashibashi.

Making a simple chopstick rest with a chopstick envelope is not a violation of manners, so being able to utilize it will make the appearance better.


If the dish comes out on a tray and there is no chopstick rest, please put the chopsticks on the left side of the tray.



How to rest chopsticks on a chopstick rest

There is actually a correct way to rest chopsticks on a chopstick rest.

What is often seen is resting the tip of chopsticks on the chopstick rest.

However, doing this repeatedly gets the chopstick rest dirty, and makes it unsanitary over time.

Originally, the chopstick rest is intended to prevent direct contact between the chopsticks and the table, so when placing it on the chopstick rest, put the chopstick tip past the chopstick rest by about 2 to 3cm.



What did you think?

We bet that many people did not have much knowledge about chopstick rests.

We hope that you can remember what we have written here and that you will be able to use chopstick rests with better manners moving forward.

Chopstick manners


This time, we would like to touch on the manners when using chopsticks.

Traditionally, using chopsticks in a way that gives off a bad impression to those around you is called "kiraibashi", and is considered rude.

Kiraibashi simply refers to things that you can't do with chopsticks.

Learn these, be careful during your usual meals, and have a fun and pleasant meal!


  • Neburibashi

To lick something on the chopstick.


  • Hashiwatashi

To exchange food among chopsticks.

This is bad luck because it is the the same motion as picking up cremated bones after cremation.


  • Sorabashi

To pick something up to eat, only to put it down without eating.


  • Nigiribashi

Beginner way of holding, tightly gripping chopsticks. The chopsticks are not properly being utilized at all.

Nigiribashi during a meal shows a very aggressive behavior that you are about to attack.


  • Futaribashi

Two people picking food off of the same plate at once.


  • Sashibashi

To stab food with chopsticks and eat.


  • Mayoibashi

To be indecisive about what to eat and move your chopsticks all over a plate.


  • Sashibashi

Point at somebody with chopsticks.


  • Tatebashi

Chopsticks are erected in a bowl of rice by a dead person's pillow, so erect chopsticks remind people of this.


The above are manners which you must remember.


The following list is compilation of more difficult manners of chopsticks which you should remember nevertheless.

Have you done any of these by accident?


  • Saguribashi

To look for a certain ingredient in soup.


  • Kasanebashi

To continuously eat just one dish.


  • Kamibashi

To bite the tip.


  • Utsuribashi

To move your chopstick to another dish, right as you were about to grab something else.


  • Namidabashi

To let soup or sauce drip from the tip, or to let sauce drip from the food.


  • Watashibashi

To place chopsticks on a plate when you are still eating.

This means that you no longer need to eat.


  • Chigaibashi

To use different chopsticks as a set.


  • Kakibashi

To scratch yourself with chopsticks. This is unsanitary and dangerous.


  • Kakikomibashi

To place your mouth on a bowl and aggressively stuff your mouth.


  • Yosebashi

To use chopsticks to bring a plate closer to you.


  • Tatakibashi

To tap chopsticks on a bowl when you want to ask for food.



There are many other forms of kiraibashi, but remember the above for now, and you should be able to avoid making others feel unpleasant.

We hope that you watch out for manners such as these, and enjoy your meal.