Sanmon is the main gate which was originally functioned as a belltower. It was converted to the gate about a hundred years ago, when Domyoji was moved to the current location.
Domyoji, which was originally called Haji-dera, was founded in the middle of the 7th century as a patron temple of the Haji clan. The priestess Kakujuni, an aunt of Sugawara no Michizane, is thought to have lived here, and historical records indicate that the descendants of Michizane were in charge of the temple’s management for several centuries (11th to 14th century). The temple possesses two juichimen kannon ryuzo (National Treasure and Important Cultural Asset, respectively) and shotoku taishi ryuzo, among others. You can see them on the 18th and 25th of each month.
Straighten your clothes, and take off your hat and sunglasses. Bring your hands together and lower your head as you pass under the gate. Step over the raised threshold, not on it.
The chozusha (or temizusha) is a space which houses a canopy and a trough. The trough contains water for the visitor to wash his or her hands and mouth before approaching the temple, as a means of ceremonial purification. There is a bench at the chozusha of Domyoji you can have a nice rest.
1) Pick up a ladle with your right hand, scoop a ladleful of water and wash your left hand. (Don’t use all the water! You’ll need that one ladleful for the whole process.)
2) Pass the ladle to your left hand and wash your right hand.
3) Return the ladle to the right hand, pour some water into your cupped left hand and rinse your mouth. (Don’t use the ladle as a cup! You’re not supposed to touch it with your lips.)
4) Wash your left hand again after rinsing your mouth.
5) Hold the ladle vertically, allowing the remaining water to trickle down the handle and clean it.
6) Return the ladle to its original position, face down.
Koro is a vessel made for burning incense for ceremonial purification. At Domyoji, you’ll find a huge censer in front of the main hall where visitors purify their bodies, especially their heads (to become smarter!), with the smoke.
Offer the incense prepared in front of the censer, then draw some smoke towards your body for ceremonial purification.
Hondo is a main hall where the temple’s principle statue is enshrined. The main statue of Domyoji is juichimen kannon, a national treasure, whom can see only on the 18th and 25th of each month.
Throw coins (any amount) into the offertory-box. Ring the gong hung above the offertory-box. Bring your hands together and bow once.