I heard somewhere that you should clean your left hand first and the right hand second. I don’t think any visitors of temples know about it exactly (my Kyoto-jin relatives don’t know either), but if there are any informations you can give me it would be appreciated. As for the rest, good site. I haven’t finished touring it yet, but if there is not a part of it dedicated to the names of parts in temples (from the torii to the butsuden) it might be of help. For example, I don’t know the name of the offering box 🙂 (I’ll ask my relatives about it anyway). You’re doing great, keep it up!
Are you Japanese or second generation expat? Thanks for the comments and the questions. If you are a Japanese living in Japan, you would be my first Japanese to whom I teach about Buddhism (on the web site anyway because I do it regularly in real life…)
About the left-right hand washing thing, the custom is to first hold the laddle in the right hand and wash the left hand with a little of the water. Then, change hand and wash the right hand.
Take a little water in your right hand and gargle with it before spiting it on the ground, at the foot of the basin. Finally, use the reminder of the water in the laddle to wash the handle by holding it up vertically. You can use the towels hanging around the basin to dry your hands, if available.
You can read more about Japanese temple etiquette here.
About the offering box, the name is saisenbako 賽銭箱.
Thank you for the suggestion on the temple layout, I have the information right here and I made a page about it.