How to Worship at a Shinto Shrine

Temizu (Water on the Palms)

When you visit a shrine, the first thing to do is to go to a wooden water reservoir and wash your palms and mouth to purify yourself. Clean water is believed to remove impurity. This ritual is a simplified version of full body bathing.

Here is how to proceed :

  1. First, purify your left palm.
  2. Then, purify your right palm.
  3. Pour water on your left palm, and rinse your mouth.
  4. Once again pour water on your left palm.
  5. Hold the dipper vertically, and rinse it with remaining water.

Two-Two-One Practice

At a shrine or family, when you worship deities, the Two-Two-One practice is applied: two bows, to claps and one bow.

Here is how to proceed :

  1. Stand straight, and bend your body 90 degrees for the two bows.
  2. Clap twice while keeping your hands in front of your chest.
  3. Bow once again.

Tamagushi (A Ritual Branch)

Tamagushi is a “Sakaki” evergreen branch tied to “Shide,” a zigzagged white stripe of paper. To dedicate Tamagushi and worship deities is the orthodox manner.

Here is how to proceed :

  1. Receive a Tamagushi, turn the tip of the leaf clockwise by 90 degrees.
  2. Lower your left hand and hold the stem side.
  3. Turn the Tamagushi further until the stem faces the side of deities.
  4. Step forward and place the Tamagushi on the dedicated platform.
  5. Then, step back a bit, bow twice, clap twice and then bow once again.

~ by James Myoe on November 16, 2007.

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