Shrines & Temples

In Japan you can see many temples and shrines here and there and sometimes people from other countries are confused about them.

Temples are the places of worship for Japanese Buddhism based on the teaching of the Buddha, Gautama Siddhartha. Buddhism was organized in India in the 6th century B.C. and it was introduced to Japan by way of China and Korea in the 6th century. Buddhism was welcomed by the ruling nobles of the time and temples were constructed one after another.
Nowadays temples are chiefly in charge of funerals and tombs.

Shrines came into existence with the beginning of the history of Japan. The Japanese have lived on rice since ancient times and in cultivating society it was necessary for people to depend upon nature and to contribute their parts to the community. And it was also necessary to help one another for good harvest. So people naturally needed a place to get together for discussing and praying for nature - the sun, wind, rain and so on. In this way, structures enshrining Kami-Shinto gods- were built.

The introduction of Buddhism in the 6th century was followed by a few initial conflicts with Shinto. But the two religions were soon able to co-exist harmoniously.