All About Japan

3 Ways to Get More Out of a Temple Visit

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If you're baffled about what to do in Japanese temples or shrines, check out Zooming Japan's guide on some fun add-on activities. These aren't required, but they allow you to get a little more out of your visit!

3. Get a Seal Book

Temple and shrine seal books, called shuin-cho, are special books that make unique souvenirs from Japanese temples and shrines. Major temples and shrines in Japan often have unique seals, so every time you visit a different site you can obtain their unique seal in your book. These are a great souvenir because you can also add to your seal book the more you come to Japan and the more temples and shrines you visit!

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2. Write on an 'Ema' Wooden Wishing Board

Ema are traditional wooden wishing plaques in Japan. These are a part of Shinto tradition, and can be found at shrines throughout Japan. Shrine-goers will write their wishes or prayers on the wooden plaques (sold at almost every major shrine) and then hang them up on the sacred grounds with the hope that they will come true!

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1. Buy an 'Omikuji' Fortune-Telling Paper

Omikuji are Japanese fortune-telling papers that you can pick up at most temples and shrines throughout Japan. These papers will let you know if blessings or, well, not-so-blessings, are in store for you. They can be hard to decipher if you don't read Japanese, but Zooming Japan offers an extensive explanation of all the varieties below! Being able to interpret them will allow you take part in a major part of visiting a temple or shrine in Japan.

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