Approaching the main hall from the stairs one can see this small shrine to the left. Behind it is the massive main hall.
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.
Just outside the main entrance gate is a makeshift tree (constructed because the natural tree was full!) of long, thin hanging wooden dowels, on which many white paper fortune strips (mikuji) are folded.
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.
This small shrine is located in the middle of a relatively new (1970's and 80's) suburban neighborhood in Nabari City.
The same Jizo as in cocrejpn0159.
This structure marks a large grove within the Minatogawa shrine compound in which Kusunoki Masanari died in 1336.
This photo was taken from the right of the main hall.
This old shrine must have been dedicated to the ancestors of a family. It also has the torii entrance.
This is another view of the space in cocrejpn0196.
This float,a portable shrine, is from the Hachiman Shrine in Morioka. It is carried from the shrine through the streets on the shoulders of bearers as seen here and is, obviously, a heavy burden. Of secondary interest is the stone wall / embankment that is seen in the background. This is now a park, but was formerly the site of Morioka Castle, which was ordered destroyed in the Meiji era.
A young couple (also seen in ecasia000861) married in a traditional Shinto wedding at the major shrine of Itsukushima, on Miyajima, near Hiroshima. They are attired in traditional formal dress for the Shinto ceremony and as they walk to greet their families they are protected by the traditional parasol carried by an attendant. -- It is frequently said that Japanese persons are â€œMarried Shinto, Buried Buddhist.â€ In fact, that is very often true and simply speaks of the co-mingling of Shintoism and Buddhism in Japan, where most persons probably regard themselves as being both Shinto and Buddhist, without the sense of exclusivity of beliefs that one might find common in western cultures.
Image taken at the wedding ceremony of Prince Akihito and Shoda Michiko. The prince deviated from previous tradition in marrying a woman of his own choosing.
Central to Shinto is the belief in divine begins (kami) which traditionally inhabit heaven and earth. Divine status is attached to anything which is striking, elevated and beautiful or possesses outstanding qualities: in brief, anything which awakens a sense of awe. In this way, things of natural beauty, mountains and seas, human beings, plants and animals can become gods. Symbols of every Shinto shrine are the gateways (torii), which in their simplest form are two pillars topped by a cross beam.
A clear waterfall at a shrine in Nagasaki.
A cat enjoys some sun at a shrine in Kamakura.
A wooden trellis at a Nara Shinto shrine being used to hang fortunes on.
Detail of the tiled roofline at the Meiji Shrine.
This pair of ema [votive paintings] were produced by Kano Sunraku, one of the most gifted artists of the late Momoyama and early Edo periods. Admired for their strength and speed and venerated for their innate, resolute spirit, horses have played a conspicious role in Japanese religious practices, ceremonial rites, and warfare since ancient times. Early accounts describe how horses were used in Shinto shrines, where their participation in solemn rituals was thought to be efficacious in precipitating rainfall or, conversely, in discouraging excessive rain and restoring good weather. To carry out these objectives, shrines were equipped with a pair of good animals, one of a dark hue, to cause rain to fall, and a second, with a light coat, to bring back the sun. Horses, in addition to their function in rites intended to affect the weather, had a more basic role as messengers and intermediaries between the temporal world and the Shinto gods. - abridged from catalogue entries by Money Hickman.
An old tree stump within the Ikuta Jinja is herein celebrated by having its own enclosed space. Wrapped around it is a "himorogi," which is a rope with stylized paper strips hanging from it that traditionally demarcates any sort of sacred space. Large old trees are frequently honored in this regard; the presence of the himorogi will prompt some Japanese visitors to place their hands together and bow briefly before such a tree. This particular tree, however, is unique because it survived the ravages of war. See the explanation accompanying the photo of the wooden plaque pictured in cocrejpn0087.
This sign instructs those (probably of younger generations) who need a reminder how to worship (from right to left): "First you bow twice with back bent to ninety degrees and head lowered. Then you clap your hands twice at chest level. Then bow one last time."