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Butsudan: Japanese Buddhist Shrine

small butsudan shrine

Are you looking for a place to keep the statues of Buddha and Bodhisattvas in your home? If you are, there is no better place than a Butsudan.

Butsudan: What is it?

A Butsudan is a type of household shrine typically found in the houses & temples in the Japanese Buddhist culture.

It is actually unique to Japan. Except for some Mongolian regions, you can find it in no other Buddhist country.

It’s a cabinet made of wood with doors which enclose & secure a religious icon (gohonzon), normally a painting/statue a Buddha. Their design can be simple or more elaborate, but the core of the Butsudan is what goes inside.

During religious festivities, the doors are opened for displaying the Buddhist statue, icon, or image. They’re closed prior to the sunset.

What goes inside a Butsudan?

Buddha statue

A Buddha statue typically rests inside the Butsudan. Otherwise one can put inside an image of Buddha occupying one side of the back wall. The other side is reserved for the founder of the individual sect.

Typically, a Butsudan has also a collection of secondary religious stuff, known as butsugu. The plethora of religious items comprises

  • incense burners,
  • candlesticks,
  • platforms &
  • candle sticks for contributions like fruit, rice or tea.

What doesn't belong inside a Butsudan?

There are things that you shouldn't place inside. For one, photographs of any kind don't belong there. It is a place dedicated for worship, a place where you can pray to the Divine, to your ancestors, or to devote your life energy to a higher purpose.

In spite of that, many people place inside trophies, credentials, documents, and other object related to material goals. Some even put lottery tickets. Obviously, such behavior defeats the purpose of having a shrine in the first place.

How expensive is it?

If you can, try to avoid purchasing Butsudan online. Especially the pricey ones, because they are dazzling artistic items and need to be seen prior to purchase. For the best and most unique pieces you would have to go to Japan.

The price of a Butsudan can be very different. In Japan, the price of a typical Butsudan ranges between one and five thousand US dollars. Some people pay even more than $25,000.

Luckily, you don't have to pay that much. The price of your Butsudan doesn't determine how successful your Buddhist practice is going to be.

Where to buy?

Even though we don't recommend it, if you have to buy them online, you can find some beautiful and relatively inexpensive Buddhist altars at the Amazon store.

This following is among the most popular Butsudans present on the web at the moment.

Japanese Buddhist Altar Butsudan butsudan Japanese shrine

Not only is it very attractive to the eyes of the visitor but it is a very powerful and sturdy piece of art. Meaning it is stronger that most of the similar products you’ll find in the market today.

You can choose between the small and large Butsudan. The shipping weight of the large one is 20.7 pounds.

The dimensions are: 15.8 x 15.8 x 10 inches.

The shipping weight of the smaller one is 10.4 pounds.

The dimensions are: 13.7 x 13.7 x 9 inches.

The product is directly shipped from Japan.

What’s more, the product is available at a very affordable cost for the consumers. We highly recommend you to try out Japanese Buddhist Altar Butsudan available at the Amazon store.

What people are saying:

  • All things considered it is an great butsudan worthy of practice and prayer.
  • It is a beautiful butsudan that holds my Buddha statues and Bodhisattvas. It is both simple and artistic.
  • This item is attractive and good-looking.
  • The Butsudan is constructed with great skill and it looks great in my home.


If you are considering buying your first Japanese altar to keep your Buddhist religious items, this could be a good choice. It is of good quality and durability and it has a nice design that will match your living space. Usually, has the best deals if you want to buy online. Click here to view this Buddhist shrine on Amazon.

Other useful links

Core Kyoto - Kin butsudan Faith Shines Brilliant in Craft that Embodies Nirvana

Morning Sun — a long tradition of Butsudan design


Andres says:

For what is worth, any Bodhisattva or Buddha statue in any dedicated corner of your room can represent an altar. Incense sticks are not that important. If you practice Zazen, you should probably practice it in the room with the altar. You could do other practice in front of your altar. Here are some ideas: recite Sutras, the Four Bodhisattva Vows, or Metta, universal love leading to liberation of mind.

sunny says:

Thanks for the comment Andres. May your spiritual practice be always filled with love and peace.

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