There are more temples and shrines in Japan than one can count. They say that the numbers of temples and shrines in Japan outnumber the number of convenience stores. There are temples and shrines with very little history, ones with much history, and ones that Japanese people from all across the country visit.
Shrines are built as part of the Japanese Shintō religion. And in the Shintō religion, there are more gods and goddesses than can be counted. Because of this, each shrine is (usually) dedicated to a different god or goddess, and depending on which shrine you visit, there may be a unique way in which you pray there.
Buddhism, on the other hand, is a religion that came into Japan through China in the Asuka period (592-710). Since then large numbers of Buddhist temples have been built throughout Japan. Buddhism that made its way through Japan has transformed into a religion that embodies more of the Japanese attitude and the Japanese way of thinking. There are many customs in Buddhism seen throughout Japan that you won’t find in other Buddhist countries.
In Japan, there is a custom known as 初詣 (hatsumōde). This is a custom where Japanese people throughout the country visit a temple or shrine when the new year begins to pray for good health, good fortune, and so on throughout the following year. It’s said that for many Japanese people this is the only time of year in which they go and pray at a temple or shrine. However, through hatsumōde, you can get a sense of just how religious Japanese people are.
There are also a wide variety of festivals held at temples and shrines. Those who participate in these festivals give their thanks and appreciation to various gods and goddesses by performing various rituals. Some festivals are small and only locals come to watch. However, many festivals are huge, bringing in Japanese people from all across the country. Many of these festivals take place in summer, but depending on the region, many festivals also take place in other seasons.
Here you can learn about some very interesting temples and shrines, ones with much history, as well as ones that are a must-visit. I hope that the articles here can give you a deeper understanding of and help you to learn more about these temples and shrines. Once you learn a little about temples and shrines and then actually go out and visit some, there's no doubt that you'll get a better understanding of the traditional side of Japan.