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Prayer

Whilst in front of the shrine buildings, you may wish to join in with the other worshippers and pray at the shrine. There are no restrictions based on religious faith.

“Two-Two-One” Practice

Before completing this ritual, you may wish to watch other worshippers perform this ritual and follow their lead. Often, they will offer a few coins in the offering box first, and at some shrines may take hold of a rope hanging down in front of the shrine building which is attached to a bell or gong. They ring this in order to announce their offering of prayers.

Worship of the kami at a shrine (or at a shrine at home) requires two bows, two claps and one bow.

 

1.
prayer2-2-1practice2.jpg Stand up straight, and incline your body forward in a bow at an angle of 90 degrees, straighten up and then repeat the bow, thus making two deep bows to the kami.

 

2.
prayer2-2-1practice6.jpgBring your hands together in front of you at chest height and then clap your hands twice. After clapping the second time, you may hold your hands together in front of you in prayer, and offer your prayer to the kami.

 

3.
prayer2-2-1practice8.jpgBow once more.

There are many explanations of the roots of this ritual, one of which is that the two bows are the most polite form of greeting, while the two claps both summon the presence of the deity while driving out evil.

Alternatively, you may want to present your prayers to the kami more formally, which you may do by applying at the shrine office. This is the offering of tamagushi to the kami. In order to perform this ritual, you will enter inside the shrine buildings, into the Worship Hall.  

Tamagushi offerings

Tamagushi is the name for a branch of the sakaki tree to which are attached slips of paper and hemp. Visitors to a shrine make offerings of tamagushi to the kami when they express sincere thanks.

How to

1.
tamagushietiquette1.jpg

Receive the tamagushi from the shrine priest

 

2.
tamagushietiquette2.jpgApproach the sanctuary altar.

 

3.
  Pray silently holding the tamagushi

 

4.
tamagushietiquette3.jpgRotate the tamagushi clockwise so the stem - not the leaves - points to the altar, and place it on the table.

 

5.
tamagushietiquette4.jpgBow twice deeply, and clap twice and bow once more.

Note that the offering of a tamagushi is not a prerequisite for prayer.

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