Do you know? Shrine manners and their meanings

This time we will explain you basic rules and manners, how to pray at shrine. Therefore we went to Sumiyoshi Shrine.


Worship etiquette 1 Bow one time before going through the gate (Torii)


Did you know, that you have to bow in front of the gate (torii)? The gate separates the world of people and the world of gods. It’s like entering their home. So stop in front of the gate, bow lightly one time, then pass the gate.

Worship etiquette 2 Purify hands and mouth


After going through the gate (torii), there will be a water ablution pavilion called Chozuya. Here you have to purify your hands and your mouth with water. Japanese prayers start with clapping the hands. Only purified, god will pay attention and listen to your prayers so it is quite important to purify. In addition, clapping hands before praying has other meanings too. For example, pay tribute to the gratitude and joy of god.

Worship etiquette 3 bow twice, clap your hands twice, bow one more time


Now that you are purified, let’s step in front of god. The prayer starts with bowing twice, followed from clapping your hands twice. After that you can make your wish. After you finished, bow one more time to end your prayer. Earlier, there were several ways to pray. But to simplify it, the worship etiquettes got unified to one general one.

Notice, the culture of bowing is for many foreigners something new so maybe a bit strange. If you live long enough in Japan, you will get used to it.

Japanese bow very often, it’s a part of their culture and character.

Chikuzen Sumiyoshi Shrine

As of August 22nd 2015

Address 812-0018
3-1-51, Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka
Access 10minutes by walking from Hakata Station or by bus till Sumiyoshi bus stop
Contact information TEL:092-291-2670
Reception time 9:00am – 5:00pm
Parking space for approximately 50 cars