Sunday, March 14, 2010

Japan, Part Eight

Japanese Temples, Part One

Japan is a land of many religions, although the three primary ones are Shinto, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Most Japanese participate in more than one.

There are Shinto shrines everywhere, little shrines in homes and offices, and in the streets and countryside, where people stop to offer prayers about any problem in their lives.

Torii, the gates of Shinto temples, are found in the streets, marking the way to the nearest temple, where anyone is welcome. One place we visited is called "Thousand Torii," a thousand gates.

Anyone who shows proper respect is welcome in a Shinto temple. Before entering, you remove your shoes and wash your hands and face at the fountain always provided. Inside you invoke the various gods, or kami, like the fox god. Shinto is all about life--it marks the stages in a person's life from childhood to old age, but there are no Shinto funerals. It is believed that the dead would pollute the temples ... even though some people become kami after death.

For funerals, the Japanese turn to Buddhism. More about that next week.

Learn to Speak Japanese

How to import a car from Japan. Click here.

Click here for Seven Reasons to Visit India.

This series of posts on my trip to Japan begins here.

The journal of my trip to India and Nepal begins here.

The series of posts on my trip to Italy begins here.

Geezer-Chick's guest blog on York, England is here.

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