Guide to Sumiyoshi Taisha
The god of Sumiyoshi is believed as “God of the sea”
Shrines and Temples : There are two different religions.
▶ Religious buildings in Japan are mostly of two types: Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Both of these religions have coexisted since the sixth century. A typical Japanese person will visit both shrines and temples.
▶ In a shrine, the god of the shrine is worshipped. In a temple, the Buddha is worshipped. We go to the shrines to celebrate a beginning, like New Year’s Day or a birth. We go to temples to commemorate endings, like New Year’s Eve or funerals.
▶ Kyoto is home to many shrines and temples. As of 2014 (two thousand fourteen), 16 (sixteen) religious buildings have the UNESCO World Heritage designation.
Shintoism and Buddhism
According to a recent survey, the number of Shinto followers in Japan was 107 million, there were 91 million Buddhists, and 2.6 million Christians. But the total number of people who belong to these three major religions is about 200.6 million, more than the entire population. This means most Japanese belong to both the Shinto and Buddhist religions. Shintoism and Buddhism have co-existed in Japan since the 6th century, when Buddhism was introduced from Korea, partly because of the tolerant nature of Shintoism. Shinto is an indigenous religion based on the worship of nature. It has no founder, no dogma, no scripture and its most important concept is purity. The greatest Shinto impurity is death, and it’s always considered taboo. On the contrary, Buddhism teaches how to escape the agonies of life and to reach nirvana, or enlightenment. Therefore, most Japanese go to Shinto shrines for occasions related to this life such as Omiyamairi, baby’s first shrine visit, or weddings, and go to Buddhist temples on occasions related to life after death, such as funerals.