Sanpai Japan – The World’s Guide to Japan’s Shrines and Temples

 

              Sanpai Japan is an online resource available to anyone in the world who is interested in Japanese culture, tradition and history. The website has articles, columns, interviews and videos all in English so that foreigners, as well as residents of Japan, are able to learn all about Japan. The purpose of Sanpai Japan is to introduce the world to the beauty of Japan’s shrines and temples. There are 100 thousands of temples and shrines all over Japan, each with their own unique story and charm. We aim to educate foreign travelers about our country and what makes us special.

              Japan’s history of religion and their relationship with shrines and temples has existed since the creation of Japan as a country. This portion of their culture makes Japan into what it is and who their people are. For people who are interested in understanding Japan’s culture and it’s people, the best way to learn is through studying their history of religion and tradition.

              The word “sanpai” means “worship.” We go to shrines to practice the Shinto religion and we go to temples for Buddhism. The Shinto and Buddhist religions co-exist peacefully within Japan, with most Japanese people practicing both religions in unison. This kind of relationship is extremely rare and is a big part of what makes Japan into such a peaceful and accepting country. Sanpai Japan wishes to inform you about what shrines and temples to visit, what their histories are, and how to worship. For example, before worshipping, we must wash our hands at a “temizuya” in order to purify our mind and body. The process of how to perform the “temizuya ritual,” how to pray at shrines, how to enjoy your experience at shrines and temples, and other related topics such as these are available on our website.

              For people who intend to visit Japan, Sanpai Japan has reviews of many temples and shrines, recommendations of where to go, and even information on activities such as types of zazen meditation that can be practiced in English. The world of shrines and temples in Japan is extremely vast and it is helpful to have guidance from the people who call Japan “home.”

              Many foreign tourists only visit the most famous shrines and temples, where the majority of the visitors are foreigners as well. Sanpai Japan hopes to guide those who want to visit the temples and shrines that are less well-known and show a more genuine side to Japan and the way that Japanese people truly live. Through reviews, reports, and step-by-step self-guiding walking tours, Sanpai Japan makes it easier for foreigners to navigate their way around Japan and for foreigners to find the shrines and temples that fit their interests. The atmospheres of Japan’s shrines and temples can be drastically different from one another, some placed in dense metropolitan areas, others placed in remote locations, and everything in between. Sanpai Japan hopes to assist foreigners in experiencing every one of these atmospheres so that they may see the difference and uniqueness to each shrine and temple that they see.

              Sanpai Japan is an initiative by JTAST (Japan Tourism Association of Shrines and Temples). Sanpai Japan is also on Instagram (@sanpai_japan), Twitter (@sanpai_japan), and Facebook. If you are interested in our website and organization, please follow us on these platforms.  

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Hikosan Jingu Shrine

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Located on the border between Fukuoka and Oita Prefectures the Hiko Mountain is truly a sight to behold. Halfway up the mountain you will find the Hiko-san jingu . Hikosan jingu  is best known as a center of training for the Shugen-do sect … Read More

Oharae

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  Twice a year on the last day of June and December, Shinto shrines participate in a ceremony called Oharae. During the Oharae, the Torii pathway leading to the shrine is transformed with hundreds of people attending this ritual. The … Read More

Nogi shrine

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The Nogi shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Akasaka. It was founded in 1937 to honor Nogi Maresuke and his wife Shizuko. Nogi was a top general of the Japanese Imperial Army who fought through numerous wars, namely the … Read More

Can a feudal era General and famed military strategist act as a modern day Cupid?(Episode Eight: My personal “Battle of Sekigahara.”)

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Epispde 1 Cana feudal era General and famed military strategist act as a modern day Cupid?(Episode One: Setting the scene) ペンネーム なべあきお、垂井町在住、イラストレーター Pen name : Abeakio/Living in Tarui town in Gifu prefecture/ art artist Driving back to the Kanto Plains, I … Read More

Dokuonji temple

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Dokuonji is a temple that was constructed nearly 400 years ago and holds a rich history. Regardless of nationality or religion, anyone is welcome to join monthly meditation and Sutra writings at Dokuonji. Once a year, Dokuonji hosts a temple … Read More

Buddhist Cuisine

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There are many factors that go along with becoming a Buddhist monk. It is generally understood that monks live drastically different lifestyles than most people, however, people rarely consider their diets.  Along with the other unique aspects of their lives, … Read More

Mikoshi and Dashi

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                Every local shrine in Japan is responsible for celebrating its own deity and holding its own festivals. Because of this responsibility, and because there are so many shrines in Japan, there are countless numbers of festivals (called matsuri … Read More

Komyoji(temple)

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  The Komyoji Temple, part of the school of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, dates back to the year 1212. Like many other temples, the Komyoji Temple suffered from the Great Kanto Earthquake (1923), which triggered a fire to the temple, which … Read More

Shakyo

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Hand copying sutra is called “Shakyo” in Japanese. Sutra copying is the East Asian practice of hand-copying Buddhist sutras. You can accumulate merits by this act of word-for-word sutra transcription. Other meritorious practices included the memorization and recitation of sutras. … Read More

Isejingu(shrine)

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  This year, the 42nd G7 summit was held on May 26-27. The summit was held in the Mie Prefecture of Japan and during the summit, Shinzo Abe, Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau, François Hollande, Angela Merkel, Matteo Renzi, David Cameron … Read More

What are Goshuin?

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               If you plan on visiting many temples and shrines in Japan, I recommend purchasing a goshuin first. The literal translation of ‘goshuin’ is “the honorable red stamp notebook.” For further explanation, the goshuin is a notebook made for collecting … Read More

Tokyo Daijingu(Shrine)

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              When visiting Tokyo, there are five major shrines in which to visit. These shrines are the Meiji Jingu, Yasukuni Jinja, Hie Jinja, Ohkunitama Jinja, and the Tokyo Daijingu. The Tokyo Daijingu is given the nickname “O-Ise-Sama in Tokyo” due … Read More

What are Tenmangu?

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One of the most famous names in Japanese history would be Sugawara no Michizane. This name is known all over Japan, thus considered as much of a household name as Ieyasu Tokugawa. Sugawara no Michizane is enshrined in hundreds of … Read More

Shinagawa(Shrine)

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              While it is common to find a shrine and a temple sharing the same property, it is also common to find more than one shrine occupying the same place. For foreigners, this can be somewhat confusing, especially because most … Read More

Karasumori(shrine)

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              Unless you are from Japan, the area of Shinbashi is likely unknown to you. This is because the city is crowded to the brim with business offices, something that does not attract tourists. However, despite Shinbashi’s crowded business-world atmosphere, … Read More

What are Koma-inu?

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                Imagine you are going out to dinner at your favorite Chinese or Japanese restaurant. What is the first thing you see as you approach the entrance? Most commonly, you’ll find a pair of statues flanking each side of … Read More

What are Torii Gates?

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              In front of every Japanese Shinto shrine there lay a gate made of two vertical posts connected by two posts on top. These gates are called “torii gates” and they are one of the defining characteristics of a Shinto … Read More

Myozenji(temple)

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   Conveniently located across the street from the famous Grand Hyatt Tokyo in Roppongi Hills, the Myozenji Temple has attracted quite a lot of attention from those who were able to find it. This temple is definitely well camouflaged in the … Read More

Tsukiji Hongwanji(Temple)

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     Located in the same district as the famous Tsukiji Fish Market, the Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple is a Buddhist temple that falls under the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha denomination of Buddhism. The Honzan, or “mother temple,” of this denomination lies in Kyoto. … Read More

Sojiji(Temple)

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  Every time I visit a temple or shrine in Japan, I always find myself thinking, “This is it. This is the most amazing shrine/temple in Japan.” With thousands upon thousands of shrines and temples, it is hard to pick a … Read More

Kenchoji(temple)

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  The Kencho-ji Temple is the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan, and ranks first out of five temples that are called “Kamakura’s Five Mountain Zen Temples.” This temple was built in 1253, which was the fifth year of the Kencho … Read More

Akasaka Hikawa(shrine)

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   The Hikawa Shrine in Akasaka, Tokyo, like all 59 Hikawa shrines, is a spiritual branch of the Omiya Hikawa Jinja Shrine in Saitama City. This particular location enshrines the primary spiritual protector of the Akasaka District. The shrine was constructed … Read More

Hiejinja(Shrine)

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   All the way back in the year 1478, a man named Ota Dokan constructed the “Hie Shrine.” This shrine is named after the guardian deity of Mount Hie in the Shiga Prefecture. This deity is called Oyamakui-no-kami, or more commonly … Read More

Kimono and Tea Ceremony

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Trying on a Furisode Kimono         The International Institute for Ritual Culture Education (IRCE) gave me the great honor of trying on a furisode kimono. A kimono is a traditional Japanese garment that is worn on special occasions and during festivals. … Read More

What are “Kami?”

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  One of the most prevalent religions in Japan is the Shinto religion. For Americans, understanding this religion can be confusing due to its vast differences from Christianity, the most prevalent religion in the United States. The Shinto religion is focused … Read More

Zojoji(temple)

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        Right in the heart of Minato, Tokyo, lies the Zojoji Temple- the main temple of Jodo-shu Buddhism. This temple is absolutely enormous and has one of the best locations in Tokyo as the Tokyo Tower can be seen standing tall … Read More

Togojinja(Shrine)

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  When Americans think of Japan, it is common that they think of the kawaii-culture of cute characters and cosplay outfits. The capital of kawaii-style fashion is Harajuku, Japan, where the streets are packed with clothing stores selling pink, furry, lacey … Read More

Kanda Myoujin Shrine

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   Placed in Sotokanda Chiyoda-ku, a short walk from famous tourist destination Akihabara, sits the jaw-dropping shrine, Kanda Myoujin. The Kanda Shrine is absolutely stunning and is definitely well-sized. The origina l Kanda Shrine collapsed in the devastating Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. … Read More