How to worship at a temple in Kyoto.


There are many beautiful temples in Kyoto.

Impressive architectures and beautiful gardens of temples have a very Kyoto-esque atmosphere, and when you go there to worship, you would feel refreshed.

Worshiping at temples in Kyoto is very popular among foreign tourists.

We cover how to worship at a temple this time.

Since temples are sacred places, there exists the whole manner of worship. Read this article, and make sure you worship Buddha without being impolite!

Also, worshipping at a temple is very similar in some ways to worshipping in a shrine. However, temple and shrine are based on similar yet completely different religions; do not get mixed up!

For that, reading the article about worshipping at a shrine as well is recommended. Compare these two and you will discover various things; it would be very fun!

What is a temple?

Let us explain briefly what temple is before we get to the “how to worship” part.

A temple is a place where monks work, people worship Buddhism and Buddha is worshipped as the principle image. Buddhism, unlike Shintoism which is the ancient Japanese religion, was originated in India approximately 2,500 years ago, spread around the world and in Japan it became a part of life for many people as well.

Temples in Kyoto have a long history; “Kinkakuji” and “Kiyomizudera” are especially popular and many people visit; one of the reasons being the beautiful sceneries.

The easy-to-see difference of a temple from a shrine is that temples have sanmon or the main gate at the entrance, and not torii (the front guard frame).

How to worship at a temple

temple kyoto1.First, bow in front of sanmon (the main gate).

temple kyoto

2.The middle of the road is where Buddha passes, so make sure to walk on the sides of the road!

chozuya3.Clean yourself with chouzya, the place for ritual cleansing of hands and mouth with water (the same way you do at chouzya of a shrine!)

senko4.Offer an incense stick. By doing so, you can cleanse yourself.

saisen5.Make a bow once in front of the principle image, and make an offering of money. Making an offering of money at a temple is regarded as one of trainings of becoming indifferent to worldly gains. You can decide how much to offer freely, so put in whatever you are happy with!

waniguchi6.Beat waniguchi (medal shaped steel drum). This will be the greeting for Buddha, so do beat it gently.

pray7.Hold your palms and fingers in front of your chest to pray. Caution! When you are at a temple, you cannot clap your hands like you do at a shrine.

8.Before exiting from sanmon, turn to the main principle again, make a bow once and then leave. Be careful until the last moment.


Let’s visit a temple!

Before you go, we picked up several temples in Kyoto which are popular among foreigners. Find the one perfect for you, and do pay a visit!


Opening Times Admission fee Access Web page
Kinkaku-ji Temple 9:00-17:00

prmary school student, junior highschool student:300 yen


Kyoto city bus Kinkakuji-michi station
Opening Times Admission fee Access Web page
Kiyomizu-dera Temple 6:00-18:00 prmary school student, junior highschool student:200 yen


25 minute walk from Keihan Kiyomizu gojo Station
Opening Times Admission fee Access Web page
Nanzen-ji Temple

:December to end of February

:March to November

prmary school student, junior highschool student:150 yen~

high school student:250 yen~

adult:300 yen~

10 minutes walk Keage station on the Kyoto city subway Tozai line.
Opening Times Admission fee Access Web page
Tohuku-ji Temple

:April to end of October

:November to beginning of December

:At the beginning of December to end of March

Prmary school student, junior highschool student:300 yen~


10 minute walk from Keihan Tohuku-ji Station

Do visit and worship at a temple in Kyoto!
You will definitely have a great encounter and a great experience!