We visited this beautiful Shinto Temple Sumiyoshi-Taisha shrine in Osaka, Japan the week Emperor Naruhito had his enthronement, so the temple was dressed for the event and young children dressed traditionally visited with their families.
Like most things in Japan the beauty is found in the details.
Shinto shrines are places of worship and the dwellings of the kami, the Shinto "gods". Sacred objects of worship that represent the kami are stored in the innermost chamber of the shrine where they cannot be seen by anybody.
People visit shrines in order to pay respect to the kami or to pray for good fortune. Shrines are also visited during special events such as New Year, setsubun, shichigosan and other festivals. New born babies are traditionally brought to a shrine a few weeks after birth, and many couples hold their wedding ceremonies there.
How to visit a temple
Behave calmly and respectfully. Show your respect by making a short prayer in front of the sacred object. Do so by throwing a coin into the offering box, followed by a short prayer.
At some temples, visitors burn incense (osenko) in large incense burners. Purchase a bundle, light them, let them burn for a few seconds and then extinguish the flame by waving your hand rather than by blowing it out. Finally, put the incense into the incense burner and fan some smoke towards yourself as the smoke is believed to have healing power. For example, fan some smoke towards your shoulder if you have an injured shoulder.
When entering temple buildings, you may be required to take off your shoes. Leave your shoes on the shelves at the entrance or take them with you in plastic bags provided at some temples. Wear nice socks. Remove hats.
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