Why do Japanese like to visit shrine? (3) 2015/02/09

According to Kojiki, Japanese oldest history book, just after the creation of “Ohyashima”, the old name of Japan, many important Gods related with Nature were born. Following those Gods, God of ship, God of mining and Ohgetsuhime who is God of silkworm and 5 grains (rice, millet, wheat, barley, bean) , were born one after the other. Then, birth of Gods of industry, occupation, business, medicine and others followed.

all of Important and crucial factors which are absolutely necessary to improve the quality of life have become Gods.

Anything great and unusual which contributed for upgrading the human life has become Gods.

In this way, we have Gods everywhere which represent each thing, each field, each area, each ancestors. Finally we have “Yayorozunokami” which means there are 8 millions Gods in total in Japan.


Since we have Gods in everywhere, Gods are so close to us that sometime we mistake Gods as if our best friends to whom we can be honest without any veil. Needless to say, most Japanese worship Gods with awesome feeling, nevertheless most Japanese have close feeling with Gods.


Meantime , there is Japanese proverb which means “ Meshes of Heven’s net is quite large but not letting through”.  We believe in Gods keep watching us and never overlook what we do. This understanding has been effective to hold the moral of our society at high level.


By the way, each shrine enshrines particular Gods. For example, Ise grand shrine enshrines Amaterasu Ohmikami”, while Izumo grand shrine enshrines Ohkuninushi. Some shrine enshrines not only one particular God but several particular Gods.

However most visitors do not care too much about which particular God is enshrined. A shrine is a shrine no matter who is enshrined.

In Japan gods are not against each other but in harmony. Visitors worship a shrine as if Yayorozunokami, in other words, all of Gods in Japan, are enshrined.

With warm holding by Yayorozunokami, and with quiet and peaceful atmosphere by “chinjunomori”, natural woods, we can be totally relaxed at a shrine. It is possible to say a shrine is a mental hometown for many Japanese.

spot0045_4a shrine guarded by woods