Shrines and Temples
I've been using the two interchangeably. Bad Jo.
A Temple is Buddhist and a Shrine is Shinto.
Senso-ji in Asakusa is a Temple and Meiji-jingu, in Harajuku, and Yasukuni-jinja (the controversial one near the Palace) are Shrines.
How do you tell the difference? If they have a Buddha, they're a Temple. Otherwise, they can be fairly hard to differentiate between unless you can get really close.
Which we did today. We went to another Temple, this time in a place called Gokokuji. Apart from the Temple there were lots of other beautiful buildings and a cemetary on the site and, the biggest bonus, not many people and absolutely no other Gaijin (okay, I was with Japanese and Gaijin, but we don't count!
Anyway, we were allowed inside the Temple and were permitted to walk around and have a proper look at all the statues and interior of the building. There was one man kneeling down playing some eerie tune on a bamboo instrument of some sort, and also lots of Buddhist monks wandering around. Awesome. There were statues there with 'real' (blue) eyes. Most strange as normally statues' eyes are just made of the same material as the rest of them.
Another of the todays highlights was a restaurant called 'The Christon Cafe' http://www.ug-gu.co.jp/restaurant/shop/christon-tokyo.htm Now, the website doesn't do it justice, but I've included it anyway. It's like drinking (very cheap good sangria, etc) in a Cathedral, with very low lighting, Spanish music and Gothic decor. The staff are all pretty Goth looking too, and there are large gaudy chandeliers, crosses, stained glass windows, priests robes, etc around. We thought it a shame the waiting staff weren't dressed as monks and nuns, but I guess you can't have it all. And the pizza there was soooooo good :D and so were the comfy chairs and sofas though, unfortunately you did have to lean forward to speak to each other.