Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Giving To The Gods

At Japanese temples, there are a few ways to leave a prayer and show your respect.

One of the first things to do at a temple is to use the purifying water provided. You'll find a basin with water and small, metal, ladle-like cups with bamboo handles scattered about. Time to clean up before entering the temple.

A typical basin. Not sure what to do? Hey, it's Japan, instructions provided. Of course, with a cute, little girl as model.

Another popular activity is leaving an Ema, or prayer in Shinto. Little wooden plaques are available for purchase. Buy one for marital bliss, a job promotion or to ace an exam.

Then there's a fortune system or Omikuji. You pay your yen, shake a box that expels a numbered bamboo stick. The number links to a rolled up paper fortune. If you like the fortune, take it home. If you don't, tie it to the rack with all the other bad fortunes, left behind for the shrine to exorcise.

Finally, incense burning is popular for its healing power. You buy a pack, get it smoking in a communal pot and let the smoke waft over you.

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