To identify shrines from temples, just see if it has a Torii gate or not. Torii gate consists of two upright poles and two parallel beams. Sometimes, they are colored red. Torii shows an entrance to precincts.
You are supposed to walk under a torii gate to go to a shrine, but the right in the middle of the gate is considered to be the way where a worshipped god of the shrine passes. So avoid walking just in the right middle.
After passing through the gate, you’ll find a water basin. It is a place to purify your hands and mouth before praying. Take a dipper with your right hand and then, wash your left hand first and then, right. After that, store water into a dipper from a water source and pour it to your left hand. Then, rinse your mouth. Don’t drink it!
After the purification, please head to the altar.
1. Throw some coins into a offertory box located before the altar. If you are going to make a big wish, you can throw a bill.
2. Bow two times.
3. Clap your hands twice.
4. Make a wish
5. Bow once again.
That’s all. This transaction is called "Nirei-Nihakushu-Ichirei", or Tow-times bows, Two claps and One bow rite.