Meiji JIngu
Etiquette and manner at shrine  – Approach, a water place, and pray The tip to get a better luck at shri …

Etiquette and manner at shrine  – Approach, a water place, and pray

The tip to get a better luck at shrine is to pay a respect to god. There are some etiquette and manners you should follow when you visit shrine.

These all have meanings, and if you understand them, it will be easier to do all procedures naturally and smoothly.


Etiquette for Torii, a gate     ~Bow before entering Torii


Torii- a gate

Torii is a boundary between an outside world and a holly space. Walking inside Torii means that you enter the holly space.

  • 1. Stand at the side of Approach in front of Torii

A center line of Torii and the approach to the main shrine is called Sei-chu, which is the pathway for god so you should stand at the side to avoid the center line.

  • 2. Bow in front of Torii

Make a slight bow before entering Torii. This type of bow is called ‘Yu’, bending a waist at about 15 degree angle and lowering a head.

  • 3. Walk in Approach with the opposite of the foot from Sei-chu

When you enter Torii, you should walk with the opposite side of your foot from Sei-chu to avoid from turning your back to god.

  • 4.Bow every time you enter Torii

In the case of big shrine, there are a few Torii gates. Whenever you enter Torii, you should bow.

There are several Torii, called Ichi-no-Torii(First Torii, the outmost one from main shrine),Ni-no-Torii(Second Torii) and San-no-Torii(Third Torii, the closest one from main shrine). The more Torii you enter, the more scared.When you leave shrine, bow towards shrine after passing Torii.


Etiquette at Approach  ~Do not walk at the center of Approach


The center line of Approach is Sei-chu, a pathway for god, so walk at the side avoiding the center. Do not cross Sei-chu, but if you need to cross, don’t forget to bow slightly to pay a respect.

Don’t be rush at Approach. Walking quietly and gently to show your respect to god enhances the power you get from god.


Etiquette at Water place ~ Rinsing and cleaning your body and mind

Water Place

Water Place

It is located at Approach.

Before praying at the main shrine, you have to clean your hand and mouth with water. This is simplified from the formal purification ceremony for body and mind.


★Tips at Water Place

・Scope water only once, and clean your hands and mouth with one scope of water. Do not get next scope.

・DO not wash your mouth directly from scoop. Putting scope to your lips is the rude manner.


Water Place

  • 1. Clean left hand

Make a slight bow in front of Water Place. Take scope with right hand, scope water from basin.Clean left hand with water.

  • 2. Clean right hand

Take scope with left hand, clean right hand with water. Then again switch scope to right hand.

  • 3. Wash mouth

Pour water into left hand and wash mouth.Again wash left hand.

  • 4. Clean the handle of scope

Flip up scope and wash the handle of scope with the left water.Replace scope with turning face down. Make a slight bow at Water Place.


Etiquette for pray


Bowing for pray is the most important. It includes Two bowings, Two claps and One Bowing.

There are two types of pray at shrine. Normal pray is to pray and throw coin in front of the main shrine. Formal pray is the worship from priest inside the main shrine.


Formal pray

If you want to remove bad luck and get special prayer, formal pray works well.Several ways and manners for pray depending on types of shrine and Shinto sects exist, however the most basic one is showed here.


  • 1. Bow and throw coins

When you stand in front of the main shrine, avoid the center of the main shrine to space for god at the center as well as Torii and Approach.

Take off hats or sunglasses then, bow slightly.

Approach to offertory box, and throw coin into it quietly.Do not dump coin. It is meant to be rude. Giving money is to not only sacrifice and but also transfer your dirt to coin so that it is removed.

  • 2. Ring the bell


The bell

If the bell is hung, pull or swing the rope and ring the bell twice.The sound of the bell is holly and has power to purify the atmosphere and call god.

  • 3. Two bowing, Two claps, and One bowing

Stand straight and bend waist at about 90 degree. Repeat it again( Two bowings).

Join hands in front of chest, and spread arms to about each shoulder wide. Clap hands twice (Two claps).

When clapping, pull right hand to body slightly and cling left hand. It makes a good sound of clap.

When finish clapping, join hands in front of chest again.

Keep joining hands to pray. 

Bow deeply as same as the beginning (One bowing).

*Number of claps depends on shrine, so please follow direction. (for example, At Izumo-Taisha, Usa-Jingu and Yahiko-jinja, tow bowings and four claps, for Ise-shinto sect, four bowings and eight claps)

water place

  • 4. Bow before leaving the main shrine

Finally, bow slightly and leave the main shrine.