Japanese Religion Vocabulary 2 – Cheat sheet

Want to learn more about religious practices in Japan? Find out about the processes done when visiting a shrine and purifying at a chozuya. This cheat sheet includes both pronunciation and meaning, including example sentences. Japanese usually visit a shrine during festivals to pray for good fortune. 

Check out part one of our cheat sheet for religion and fortune-related vocabulary!

Visiting a shrine

How to make a prayer at a shrine

Japanese: 神社(じんじゃ)でのお参(まい) りの法(さほう)

1. Pass through the shrine gate

Japanese: 鳥居(とりい)をくぐる

2. Purify yourself at a chōzuya

Japanese: 手水屋(ちょうずや)身(み)清(きよ)める

3. Give a small offering

Japanese: 賽銭(さいせん)する

4. Ring the bell; bow twice, clap your hands twice, put your hands together and pray, and bow once before you leave

Japanese: 鈴(すず)鳴(な)らし二拝二拍手一拝(にはいにはくしゅいっぱい)をする

Purifying

How to purify yourself at a chōzuya

Japanese: 手水(ちょうず)作法(さほう)

  1. pick up the wooden dipper with your right hand, scoop up water, and pour some of the water over your left hand
  2. Hold the dipper with your left hand, pour some of the water over your right hand
  3. Hold the dipper with your right hand again, pour some water into your left hand
  4. Wash the handle of the dipper by holding it vertically and letting the remaining water flow down the handle
  5. Place the dipper down back to its original position

Example Sentences

Example 1:

By saying ‘大晦日には多くの人が神社お参りに行きます。

Pronunciation: Ōmisoka niwa ōku no hito ga jinja ni omairi ni ikimasu.

It means ‘On New Year’s Eve, many people visit the temple.’

Example 2:

By saying ‘正しい手水の作法は右手で柄杓を持つことから始まりま。。

Pronunciation: Tadashī chōzu no sahō wa migite de hishaku o motsu koto kara hajimari masu.

It means: ‘The correct way to purify yourself at a chōzuya starts with holding the wooden dipper with your right hand.’