Otera - Temples in Japan

There are two main religions in Japan; first in Buddhism and the other is Shinto. They all have different types of temples for worship. This article will provide you information about temples in Japan.

Temples in Japan

In Japanese Buddhism, temples are the worship places. In japan every Japanese municipality is having one temple at least, on the other hand, Kyoto, large cultural centers is having several hundred. Kyoto, Nara, and Kamakura are the best cities to visit temples. Mount Koya is one of the best places to overnight at temples. In the world, Japan has one of the richest histories. Buddhist temples and Shinto are an integral part of Japan. There are most beautiful Temples and Shrines in japan that can fascinate you.

Buddhist Temples

In Japan, the most numerous, famous, and important religious buildings are Buddhist temples. Tera is the word for Buddhist temples in Japan. There is a great resemblance between Buddhist temples and Shrine. And the reason for this lies in their common history. Buddhism became more interpretive as it did not try to explain the universe as Buddhism sometimes tried to when Shintoism first encountered Buddhism. Visitors who visit Japan goes to Buddhist temples and shrines for the same reason as prayer and for luck. The reason for the co-existence of the two religions is the increased popularity of religions and the birth of new religions. Temples are characterized by a sanmon gate at the entrance. And the purpose is to serve Buddhist religious tradition. Temples in japan consist of the number of halls and structures. Temples are the symbol of peace, incense, and purification.


Shinto Shrine and Buddhist temples are different from each other. Shrines are characterized by a torii gate at the entrance. The purpose of Shinto is to serve religious tradition. A tori gate is considered as a boundary line between the holy ground and the secular world. There is a custom while entering through the gate don’t walk directly in the exact center. The way to enter is to walk through a little to the left or right of the center path. After you entered you should purify your hand and mouth. After reaching the alter, throw a coin into the offering box quietly. Bow twice. To greet the deity ring the bell. By expressing your joy and respect towards the deity clap your hands twice. With your hands together say a prayer. After completing your prayer bow one more time.


In Japan, most Buddhist temples belong to one of the four main styles:

Wayo: During the Heian period, this style is developed in art and architecture on the basis of contemporary Chinese architecture.

Daibutsuyo: This is the Japanese religious architectural style. On the basis of contemporary Chinese architecture, it emerged in the late 12th or early 13th century.

Zenshuyo: By the name of Buddhist Zen Sect, creator, the name of this style is taken. It emerged in the late 12th or early 13th century on the basis of contemporary Chinese architecture.

Setchuyo: During the Muromachi period this architectural style born in japan. It is formed from three preceding styles, the wayō, the daibutsuyō, and zen'yō.

The similarities between the temples and shrines are functional. Buddhist temples are primarily not a place of worship, like a shrine. For certain rites, there are specialized buildings. Usually, only for the limited number of participants, these are open. To embody themes and teaching Buddhism the architectural elements of Buddhist temples are meant. Before the arrival of Buddhism, Shrines exist. The shrines consist of demarcated land areas or temporary shrines. The consequence of this is, for centuries shrines and temples had a symbolic relationship where each influenced the other. Now, the mixing of the two religions was forbidden.

Japanese temples are structures as:

Main Hall: In the main hall, the sacred objects of worship, such as statues, are displayed. In Japanese, the Main halls are called kondo, hondo, butsuden, amidado or hatto.

Lecture Hall: For meetings and lectures, lecture halls are used. And also used for displaying objects of worship. These are called as kodo.

Pagoda: The structure of pagoda is evolved from the Indian stupa. There are three or five stories with this. In the form of representation, pagodas store remains of the Buddha such as a tooth.

Gates: Gates are the mark of the entrance to the temple grounds. Along with the temple’s main approach, there is one main gate and possibly several additional gates.

Bell: By the Buddhist concept of 108 worldly desires, On New Year's Eve, temple bells are rung 108 times.

Cemetery: In japan most of the cemeteries are Buddhist and are located at a temple.


In Japan, ancient and unique temples are the amazing attraction for visitors all over the world. Temples are the incredible mark in the beauty of the religious culture. These temples are hundreds are even thousands of years old temples and Buddhist architecture and famous Buddhist pilgrimage is possessed by these temples. They are the witness of the ups and downs of the country’s history.