Shinto Shrines & Temples in Japan

SHINTO SHRINES

Komainu: They are a pair statue of lion-dogs that are found at the front of the shrines. They are located on each side of the entrance, and are used to ward off any nearby evil spirits. You will often see two komainu dogs erected directly across from one another; one has its mouth open while the other has its mouth closed.


Inari: Instead of komainu dogs; there are many shrines who chose to have Inari (fox-gods) guarding the place of worship instead.


Torii Gate: The large gate structure is used to mark the entrances and exits of the shrines in Japan. 


Chozuya: This is a water pavilion that can be found at the entrances of shrines. It's a ritual to wash one's hands and mouth to purify themselves before entering the main Shinto shrines.

1. Take the ladle to scoop up some water with your right hand, and wash your left. Then switch to wash your right hand.
2. You can take a small sip of water to rinse your mouth.
3. Return the ladle back to the water.

 Suzu: The bell is attached to a structure on the grounds of the shrines, and rang by worshipers.

Honden: This is the main sanctuary of a shrine in Japan.

Omikuji:  They are paper fortunes that you can get by shaking a box containing bamboo sticks. Each stick has different numbers written on them, and you'd go into the cupboard with the correct number (as on your chosen stick), and select a fortune. The fortune is then tied onto a branch that's on the ground of the shrine for good luck.

Tip: Some popular shrines are Meiji Shrine (Tokyo), Toshogu Shrine (Nikko), Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima), Hakone Shrine (Hakone), Fushimi Inari Shrine (Kyoto).

TEMPLES

Gate: The gate marks the entrance of the temple.

Main Hall (kon-dō): This is where the main service is conducted in the Buddhist temple.

Pagoda: A multi-tier structure that can be found on the grounds of a temple in Japan. Many of the ones that I saw in Japan were either three or five story high.


Tip: Some popular temples are Sensoji Temple (Tokyo), Tennoji Temple (Osaka), Kiyomizu Temple (Kyoto), Kinkakuji (Kyoto), Naritasan (Narita), Todaiji Temple (Nara)

Sources: Wikipedia and Japan Guide