Hello, I am an American who lived in Thailand for some time and now live in Japan. I am familiar to a certain degree with the type of buddism practiced in Thailand. However, now that I am in Japan, I am confused by the temples. They appear to be bare with no monks as opposed to what I was used to. In Thailand, I used to go to the temples and several monks were always on hand to perform rituals.
********Note From The Editor*************
Thank you for your comment.
Yes, Japanese and Thai Buddhism is very different. The first major difference is that Japanese Buddhism is of the Mahayana tradition and Thai Buddhism is of the Theravada tradition.
They are two very different way of looking upon the Buddhist world.
Also, in Thailand, (I do not know much about Thailand, so sorry if I am mistaken)most male citizen will be monks for a short time. Thus, you might have a large number of monks in attendance. In Japan, monks tend to be only in monasteries and priests are rare and there is usually only one per temple, unless it is a large one.
The priests are also busy performing funeral rituals (Japanese Buddhism has become and industry geared toward funerals) so they might not be on hand to help you. You might want to get in touch with the office (sometimes a family member or a member of the community will take care of the office) and make a reservation.