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  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Main hall and left "wing" at Kashima Shrine
    Kashima Miya - Main hall and left "wing" at Kashima Shrine

    The main hall is flanked on both the left and right by smaller shrines. Even in this newly constructed shrine in a contemporary suburban neighborhood the attention to traditional detail is noticeable.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Top of the stairs
    Hasedera - Top of the stairs

    Upon almost reaching the end of the covered stairways, there is a small landing where one is greeted by a small red Shinto shrine dedicated to a local deity.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Inner sanctum
    Ikuta Jinja - Inner sanctum

    This is the view from the place where most visitors stop to pray. One pulls the rope visible to the right and bows.

  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Side view of subsidiary shrine
  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Main gate of Ikuta Jinja from within
    Ikuta Jinja - Main gate of Ikuta Jinja from within

    This photo was taken from the right of the main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Torii within compound
    Minatogawa Jinja - Torii within compound

    This white torii stands on the main pathway of the shrine, about halfway between the main gate and the main shrine hall

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Main shrine hall from a distance
    Minatogawa Jinja - Main shrine hall from a distance

    The two large lanterns flanking the approach are noteworthy.

  • Thumbnail for Shrine stairs with torii
    Shrine stairs with torii

    These stairs lead from the main street to a small shrine in the forest behind the houses visible to the right.

  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 030, Jizo statue from Muroji
    Muroji, 030, Jizo statue from Muroji

    Along the side of the steps up the side of the mountain, one sees this Jizo figure. The Jizo is a spirit that cares for the souls of children who have died and the Jizo statues are very common throughout Japan, especially in temple compounds. The offerings left with this Jizo are interesting and mildly humorous, since the offerings include a container of "One Cup Ozeki," a brand of sake that can be purchased from vending machines. Also interesting are the branches in the vases, which appear to be branches of sakaki, a plant usually associated with Shinto, although there frequently are "cross-overs" between Buddhist and Shinto practices in Japan. (Sake, likewise, is usually associated with the Shinto offerings of sake, salt, and rice, associated with purification, as seen in images from the Hachiman Shrine in Morioka.) Some excellent information in these areas may be found in the Colorado College collection dealing with Japanese religion, materials contributed by Professor David Gardiner.

  • Thumbnail for Shinto shrine, Shichigosan Day, Hachiman Shrine, Morioka
    Shinto shrine, Shichigosan Day, Hachiman Shrine, Morioka

    As described in image 000058, this young boy has been brought to the Hachiman Shrine in Morioka, for the celebration of Shichigosan, Seven-five-three Day, when prayers are offered for the good fortune of girls who are seven or three years old and for boys who are five years old. This young lad, hoping that his father takes the photo quickly, because the sun in his eyes is bright, is dressed in his best formal traditional dress.

  • Thumbnail for Shinto shrine, an infant is brought to the local shrine for a birth ritual
    Shinto shrine, an infant is brought to the local shrine for a birth ritual

    When an infant is one month old, it is taken by its parents to the local shrine for miyamairi, a birth ritual. By this ritual, the infant becomes a member of the shrine and is placing under the protection of the kami, the guardian spirit of the shrine. Traditionally, this is an infant's first trip out of its home.

  • Thumbnail for Torii gate
    Torii gate

    Stone torii gate at the entrance to the main shrine at Miyajima.

  • Thumbnail for Nagasaki Shrine
    Nagasaki Shrine

    A building at a shrine in Nagasaki. Note the traditional rice-rope decoration hanging above the doorway.

  • Thumbnail for Engakuji flowers
    Engakuji flowers

    A tree blossoms in Engakuji, Kamakura.

  • Thumbnail for Nara Shrine
    Nara Shrine

    A wooden trellis at a Nara Shinto shrine being used to hang fortunes on.

  • Thumbnail for Yasaka Shrine Celebration, 2
    Yasaka Shrine Celebration, 2

    Priests ring an enormous bronze bell during a celebration at Yasaka Shrine.

  • Thumbnail for Lantern
    Lantern

    A stone lantern sits surrounded by rectangular pillars.

  • Thumbnail for River Shrine
    River Shrine

    On a man-made island in the middle of a small river sits several statues and pillars in honor of the river god.

  • Thumbnail for Kunchi Festival
    Kunchi Festival

    Photo of a Shinto street festival in Nagasaki.

  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Interior view of subsidiary shrine
    Kashima Miya - Interior view of subsidiary shrine

    Inside we see a small mirror, which is often present in a shrine as an embodiment (shintai) of the kami. There are also small containers visible that may be filled with water, rice or even sake as offerings.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Shrine at foot of main temple hall
    Hasedera - Shrine at foot of main temple hall

    Approaching the main hall from the stairs one can see this small shrine to the left. Behind it is the massive main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Inside the main entrance of Ikuta Jinjpn
    Ikuta Jinja - Inside the main entrance of Ikuta Jinjpn

    Just inside the first torii gate, which here is gray concrete, is this vermillion second torii. The cars parked here are likely affiliated with the shrine. If the open areas of the shrine were available for parking they would always be full in this crowded city.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Modern visitor
    Ikuta Jinja - Modern visitor

    This young woman sits in the shade on a ledge beside the main hall. She holds her cell phone and either reads or sends an email message.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Central courtyard of Ikuta Jinjpn
    Ikuta Jinja - Central courtyard of Ikuta Jinjpn

    Between the large entrance gate and the main shrine hall is a large circle made of rope.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Samurai helmet
    Minatogawa Jinja - Samurai helmet

    This warrior helmet is priced at 30,000 yen (roughly $250).