Why do Japanese people visit shrines and temples?

Source: survey by JTB travel agency

A survey of 3,600 Japanese adults shows that 52% visited a shrine or temple in the past year. (Of those who didn’t, most simply didn’t have a reason to go; only 8% of all respondents specifically said they were totally uninterested in religious places.) The reasons shrinegoers and templegoers gave for visiting were as follows:

22% There were things I wanted to see in the surrounding area

21% There’s something special about that place

18% I visit that place regularly

11% No reason in particular

8% I felt like I wanted to pray

5% A relative or friend asked me to go

4% I was taken there on a tour

4% I saw it on TV or in a magazine

4% I was attending a special event or service there

3% Other

If these reasons seem a bit unflattering, the positive reactions from visiting should be more encouraging:

40% I felt soothed / my heart was calmed

19% The buildings were very pretty

13% I felt like I should go more often

10% My ki/energy was renewed

10% The souvenirs were good

4% I gained something from visiting

2% I enjoyed talking with local people

2% Other

Furthermore 56% go to temples and shrines together with their families, while only 15% go alone. A supermajority are praying for the health and safety of family members.

JTB found that about 18% of Japanese people would like to visit either Ise or Izumo this year if they can find the time. Other popular choices include Itsukushima, Meiji Jingū, Kiyomizu-dera, Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū, Atsuda Jingū, Kumano Sanzan, Fushimi Inari, Nikkō, Takachiho, and Kirishima-Jingū. A mixture of tourism-related, history-related, cultural heritage-related, and “power spot” reasons were given for these choices.

Posted: March 4th, 2013 | Shinto 1 Comment »

One Comment on “Why do Japanese people visit shrines and temples?”

  1. 1 Warlock Asylum said at 8:56 pm on March 13th, 2013:

    Nice post! Interesting. I fell when visiting a shrine, a renewed energy.