• About Jinja - Paying Your Respects

About Shrines

Paying Your Respects

When visiting a jinja, you should first pay your respects to the kami, before looking around.

The path from the torii leads to the place where you should do so, normally in front of a building. At a small jinja, this may be the main sanctuary, but at larger jinja it is the prayer hall, or “haiden”. If there is a prayer hall, the main sanctuary is normally behind it. You should not enter the prayer hall without permission, and most people pay their respects from outside.

There are often an offering box and bell rope at the front. The sound of the bell is said to purify you, and offering a small amount shows respect for the kami.


  • Stand up straight, facing the prayer hall or sanctuary.
  • Put some coins in the offering box, if you wish, and shake the rope to ring the bell if there is one.
  • Bow deeply, twice.
  • Stand up straight again, and put your hands together in front of your chest.
  • Clap twice to show respect.
  • Say a quiet prayer if you wish.
  • Bow deeply once.
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