• About Jinja - Entering a Jinja

About Shrines

Entering a Jinja

A jinja and its grounds are like the home of the kami. You should treat it with the respect you would show when visiting an important person in their home.


The entrance to a jinja is marked by a torii. The torii marks the border between the sacred space of the jinja and the everyday world outside, and so many people pause and bow their heads slightly before walking through.

Purification Font

As purity is very important in Shinto, most jinja have a font of water that you should use to cleanse yourself before paying your respects. First, hold the ladle in your right hand, and rinse your left hand. Then, hold it in your left hand, and rinse your right hand.

Next, pour a little water into the palm of your left hand, and use that to rinse your mouth. Do not touch the ladle to your mouth, and spit the water out at the base of the font, not into it. Finally, rinse your left hand once more. When you have finished, put the ladle back where you found it.

Koma Inu

Many jinja have a pair of animal statues in the grounds. The most common are mythological creatures called “koma inu”, which look a little like lions. Some jinja have animals particularly associated with their kami, such as foxes, wolves, or monkeys.

These statues represent guardians, keeping evil influences out of the jinja.

  • HOME
  • About Jinja - Entering a Jinja