1. Clean yourself
In front of temples and shrines, you will often notice a pond filled with water. It is for washing your hands. Since temples and shrines are sacred places, they usually "clean" themselves before entering. There, you'll find a ladle. Draw some water with it to wash your hands, rinse your mouth and spit it. If you do not know how to do it, follow what others do. But please, DO NOT DRINK IT... the concept is to "clean" ourselves not to quench our thirst!! hehe :)
2. Ring the bell & make a wish.
At Shinto shrines, there will be a small donation box sits below a long red & white rope which leads to a bell. There, you toss a coin into the offering box and pull on the rope to ring the bell, which is to make the gods hear you, make a wish. Bow and clap loudly twice then bow again.
3. Burn the incense.
At some temples, visitors burn incense (osenko) in large incense burners. When you buy a bundle of incense, light them, let them burn for a few seconds, put them into the incense burner and fan some smoke towards yourself as the smoke is believed to have healing power.
A common easily practiced custom when coming to a Shinto shrine is to wash one's hands.
Do not stick your hands directly in the water. Using the cup provided. Pour water into the palm of one hand and then do the same for the other. Be sure to do so, so that the water does not go back into the main pool, but into the gutter instead.
Buddhism is a religion based on the iconolatry, and statues of the Lord Buddha and its pantheon serve as the objects of worship. Buddha statues in Japan are grouped into the following five categories each having many sub-categories:
One of the nice things that we could learn from Shinto is the respect for nature. All items in nature (from an animal to a simple rock) hold a spirit. Disrespectful behaviour towards these spirits will have negative effect on your own life, as the protecting natural god could turn against you. So treat nature as it should be and see the miracle in it as it is always surrounding you everywhere.
Japanese language is one of the most complicated! Three types of characters. Anyway, here's some useful phrases to keep in mind in case you need help.
IN AN EMERGENCY:Help! Tas'kete!
Call the police Keisatsu o yonde kudasai!
Thank you Arigato gozaimasu
Excuse Me Sumimasen
I don't understand Wakarimasen
Do you speak English? Eigo o hanashimasuka?
How are you? Ogenki desu ka ?
Good morning Ohayo gozaimasu
Good afternoon Konnichiwa
Good evening Konbanwa
Good night Oyasumi nasai
Good bye Sayonara