Left? Right?


Left? Right?

by Keisuke



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!

My answer:

Hello Keisuke,

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.

In compassion,


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Feb 04, 2011


by: Keisuke

Ok, I have found the page about the temples layout, and it’s really well-done, helpful and clear.

Thank you for the informations about the offering box.

My father is from Kyoto and I’m here right now. I am learning a lot of things about temples and Buddhist traditions from my grandparents, next I’ll go to see an old aunt who leads ceremonies in her small town, perhaps she will destroy everything I have learnt until now 🙂 By the way, isn’t that a picture of you at 三十三間堂? ようこそ京都へ! 😀

I’ll put a couple of links to your site on my blog, I hope it will bring you some good.

Thanks again.


Feb 17, 2011

Hi again

by: Admin-Hugo

Hello Keisuke,

Thanks for the nice comments, I am here to serve. *bows*

It is indeed me at sanjusangendo. I visited the temple back in 2009. It was a very nice visit. I finally could see the Karura statue. He is one of my favorites.

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