Japanese Religion Vocabulary 1 – Cheat Sheet

Want to expand your Japanese religion-related vocabulary? This cheat sheet includes helpful terminologies on religion and fortune in Japanese. It includes pronunciation, meaning and example sentences to help you fully understand the content and practice your spoken Japanese skills. 

In Japan, Buddhism and Shinto are the primary religions, often practiced simultaneously. Shinto means ‘the way of the gods’ and is deeply rooted in tradition. The Mahayana, ‘Greater Vehicle’ Buddhism, is one of the main branches and was brought here from China and Korea. 

Want to learn more about how the Japanese carry out their prayers? Check out part two of our Japanese religion vocabulary cheat sheet to find out more about religious practices in Japan!

Religion 宗教 (しゅうきょう)

Here are 10 keywords related to religion in Japan: 

JapanesePronunciationMeaning
仏教ぶっきょう bukkyōBuddhism
神道しんとう shintōShinto
お寺てら oteraTemple
神社じんじゃ jinjaShrine
お参りまい omairiVisit to a shrine / temple
山門さんもん sanmonTemple gate
鳥居とりい toriiShrine gate
手水舎ちょうずや chōzuyaPurification fountain
お賽銭箱さいせんばこ osaisen bakoOffertory box
お守りまも omamoriCharm / amulet

Fortune 運勢 (うんせい)

Here are 8 words relating to different fortunes: 

JapanesePronunciationMeaning
おみくじomikujiFortune slip
大吉だいきち daikichiExcellent luck
きち kichiGood luck
中吉ちゅうきち chūkichiFair luck
小吉しょうきち shōkichiA little luck
末吉すえきち suekichiUncertain luck
きょう kyōBad luck
大凶だいきょう daikyōTerrible luck

Example Sentences

Example 1:

By saying ‘神社神道お寺仏教の施設である。

Pronunciation: Jinja wa shintō, otera wa bukkyō no shisetsu dearu.

It means ‘Shrines are Shinto, temples are Buddhist.’

Example 2:

By saying ‘おみくじを引いたら大凶だった。

Pronunciation: Omikuji wo hiitara daikyō datta.

It means: ‘I drew a fortune slip and got “terrible luck“.’