Rin (bell) ()

A "rin (鈴)" a Buddhist instrument. It is also written as '錀'.

The rim is beaten with a stick to produce sound.

A 'rin' is placed on a mattress called 'rin futon', which is put on a table called 'rindai'.

During a religious service, it is rung to signal a start, pause, and end of a chant, such as Buddhist scripture. It is also rung to signal to release praying hands.

The stick, which is used to beat a rin, is called 'rinbo', 'bachi' or 'bai'.

It has a bowl-like figure. The one with metal legs attached is called 'kodai rin'.

Its size is about from 6cm to 90cm in diameter. The one with metal legs attached is called "kodai rin".

The rin for temples are called 'kinsu', 'kin', or 'kei'. They have a thick rim and dark color, and many of them have a lacquer finish.

An 'inkin' is a small 'rin' with a cushion and a handle for being portable.


A 'rindai' is a Buddhist instrument that serves as a table for a 'rin'.

Generally it is round or hexagonal.

In the Shin sect Otani school, a special quadrilateral 'rindai' is officially used. They are classified into 'gohira-gata', 'yatsuinome-gata', and 'tsubokuri-gata' types based on the fretwork. In accordance with the proper manner, the special rindai is placed directly on tatami mats.

Instead of 'rin futon', 'kumowa' is used with Otani school's special rindai. A 'kinranwa' may be used informally in place of the 'kumowa'.

In accordance with the proper manner, 'bachi (rin stick)' is placed in the 'rin' at times other than during religious services and on the right side of 'kumowa' over the rindai during religious services.


A rei is an esoteric Buddhist instrument on hand, which is like a small bell. Rei such as kongorei, a hojurei, etc. are known.

Varieties of rei

A bell is attached to one side of a dokkosho (a pestle with a single sharp blade at each end, found as an attribute of Buddhist guardian figures, and a symbolic item in Esoteric Buddhism), which was used as a weapon in the old days.

A bell is attached to one side of a sankosho (pestle with three prongs at each end, usually made of gilt bronze).

A bell is attached to one side of a gokosho (short club with five prongs at each end, usually made of gilt bronze).

Suzu (bell)

A suzu is a musical instrument, which is made of metal, china, etc., and has a small ball in a hollow sphere. It is swung to produce sound.

In Shintoism, a shrine maiden has a mikosuzu (medium bell) on her hand and rings it when she dances kagura (sacred music and dancing performed at shrines). Moreover, in the oratory of a shrine, a bell sounds in order to attract the attention of a deity.

According to "Kenzoki (Records of Kenzo era)" from "Nihon shoki/ Chronicles of Japan", an old woman called Okime came to Emperor Kenzo in February in the first year of his accession. Since she pointed the location of his deceased father's bone, the Emperor let her live near the royal palace in appreciation.
He told her 'put a bell at the end of a rope and ring it to tell the receptionist of your arrival when you come to me.'
This is thought to be one of the oldest examples of the practical bell usage in Japan.

Musical instrument

It is used as a percussion instrument in classical music.

Temple bell
A 'temple bell' is mostly used after modern music, especially in contemporary classical music.

It may be beaten with mallets or drawn with a bow of a stringed instrument.

Sleigh bell
Refer to the entry of 'Sleigh bell'.


There are bells used to call attention, such as those used as doorbells. There are also windchimes, etc.

[Original Japanese]