These photos are still from our day trip to Tokyo.
We are walking towards a shrine, but now I can’t remember its name. I asked my husband, he can’t remember either, and told me I had to look it up.
Here’s the thing: If I look it up in English (key words: Beckoning Cat Shrine Tokyo) I only get links to a different place, a cat temple that we went to last year. It’s far more impressive than today’s shrine, so it’s way more on the English internet, I guess.
So I have to look it up in Japanese (on Google Japan version) and I find it (using same key words in Japanese) immediately.
To be honest: Living in Japan, I rarely look up things here in English. Doing it in Japanese will give me much better information. (Although when my niece was here, she was extremely talented at looking up interesting things in Japan in English, so I think there’s a knack to it.)
So anyway, last year we visited a temple that claims to have created the Maneki Neko (beckoning cat.) This year we went to a shrine that claims to have created the Maneki Neko (beckoning cat.)
What’s the difference between a temple (おてら）and a shrine （じんじゃ）?
Otera (Temple) is Buddhist.
Jinjya (Shrine) is Shinto.
As you can tell, the English translations of “temple” and “shrine” are not anything like the words that Japanese people use. I’m sure the first westerners to Japan were like “Okay, this place we’ll call a…….temple! And this we’ll call….hmmm…let me see…..a shrine!”
It’s easy to get a temple (Otera) and a shrine (Jinja) confused with each other…but there are ways to tell them apart. The best way is to turn to the nearest Japanese person and say, “Excuse me, is this an Otera or a Jinja?” Ha Ha Ha
Cat Shrine in Doll Town
Cats are beckoning us. By the way, cats are NOT prayed to. (At least I don’t think so.)
This is where the observant pray. I don’t know the god of this particular shrine. I’d ask my husband but I’m sure he’d tell me to look it up, and I’m too lazy.
Okay, I am NOT NOT NOT an expert in Asian religions, but Shinto is solely Japanese and there are many gods relating to nature.
Buddhism came to Japan through China (originally from India) and is based on the teachings of Buddha.
They are separate religions, but these days Japanese people tend to be very easygoing about religion and many people here follow both religions.
I myself am not a follower of either Shinto or Buddhism.
Cute handsome son and cute handsome husband.