Paying homage, and/or giving prayers at a shrine, comes from the heart.
After following steps 1 and 2, it is time to greet the Kami-sama. The following steps are to be performed after standing in front of the alter entrance.
Saisen (Money offering)
1 - Give a slight bow and place the saisen into the box.
*The saisen is essentially an offering to the "god," — a present to please him/her. In the past, rice or sake, even salt was used, however nowadays money is used instead. There is no rule as to how much you should offer so feel free to offer however much you like. It is better to place it in the box quietly, without throwing.
*If the shrine has a bell (most often attached to the top of a large rope hanging from the ceiling), place the offering in before ringing it. The bell is there to let the deity of that shrine know you have come.
Hairei (Praying/wishing/showing gratitude)
Confront the Kami-sama after you have relaxed both mind and heart.
2 - Bow twice (A deep 90 degree bow, two times)
3 - Clap twice (Sturdily, with your hands at chest level) and make your prayer/wish.
4 - Bow once (One last deep bow to finish)
Insight on Shintoism from Florian Wiltschko
Born in 1987, in Linz, Austria.
From a very young age, Wiltschko took an interest in Japan and gained knowledge through reading. When he was 14, he came to Japan on a family vacation for the first time, and visited many Shrines and Temples, which raised his level of interest even more. In 2007, he entered the Ueno Tenmangu Shrine in Nagoya, and studied about Shinto priesthood while living there. Upon returning home, and graduating from Vienna University in Japanese Studies, he moved to Japan for good and entered Kokugakuin University and majored in Shinto Studies. After graduating from his special training in 2012, he was appointed "gon-negi" (lowest ranking priest) at the Konno Hachimangu Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo, fulfilling the position for 4 years. From May of 2016, he will continue his priesthood at Nobeno Shrine in Tsu City, Mie Prefecture.