Insider’s Guide to Shintō Shrines
“Haiden”: The Hall of Worship
We have reached the haiden, where visitors pray or pay their respects to the kami, or gods of the shrine. The prayers offered up outside the haiden are what we call ryakushiki sanpai, or simplified worship. A more complete prayer ritual, referred to as seishiki (formal) sanpai or jōden (in-hall) sanpai, is conducted inside.
To offer a prayer outside the hall, put some money into the donation box (saisen-bako), ring the bell, and perform the prayer ritual described below.
Those who wish to complete the formal jōden sanpai pay a fee (called the tamagushi-ryō) to have a ritual purification rite (oharai) and chanted prayer (norito) performed by a priest. The worshipper then offers up the tamagushi—a sakaki branch with shide streamers attached—at the altar and performs the prayer ritual below.
The prayer ritual at most shrines consists of two bows, two claps, and a final bow. Exceptions to the rule are Izumo Taisha and Usa Jingū, where priests clap four times, and Ise Shrine, where they bow and clap eight times.
Shintō Shrine Prayer Ritual
|Your Virtual Guide to the Shintō Shrine||Torii: Gates to the Sacred Spaces||“Sandō”: The Worshipper’s Path|
|“Shimenawa”: The Sacred Rope||“Temizuya”: The Cleansing Ritual||“Komainu”: The Shrine’s Guardian Figures|