A lot of first time visitors to Japan get confused about the two places of worship: Shinto Shrine (神社) and Buddhist temple (お寺). The basic rule of dumb is that a shrine is always related to Shintoism, when then a temple is always connected with Buddhism. Both places of worship can be found on the same grounds.
When Buddhism was introduced to Japan from China/Korea during the fifth and sixth centuries, some conflict took place between the already established Shinto and the new ideology Buddhism. Later on in the eight century a compromise was reached, which resulted in the teaching that the Shinto Kami were pleased to receive Buddhist sutras as offerings and to hear them recited in the worship. As a consequence Buddhist temples were established alongside shrines. As a further step then in the ninth century some shrine Kami became the guardians of Buddhist temples. For example the Kami of Hiyoshi Shrine in Sakamoto at the foot of Mount Hiei became the guardian of the Tendai monastery: Enryakuji. The Kami of Nibutsu Hime Shrine is connected with Shingon monastery Kongobuji on Mount Koya in Wakayama prefecture.
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)
Do note further related readings to be found at: