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  • 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 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 - Fortunes tied onto branches
    Ikuta Jinja - Fortunes tied onto branches

    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.

  • 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 Kashima Miya - Entrance to Kashima Shrine
    Kashima Miya - Entrance to Kashima Shrine

    This small shrine is located in the middle of a relatively new (1970's and 80's) suburban neighborhood in Nabari City.

  • Thumbnail for Jizo with children
    Jizo with children

    The same Jizo as in cocrejpn0159.

  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Right "wing" at Kashima Shrine
  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Portal marking grove where Kusunoki Masanari died
    Minatogawa Jinja - Portal marking grove where Kusunoki Masanari died

    This structure marks a large grove within the Minatogawa shrine compound in which Kusunoki Masanari died in 1336.

  • 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 Shrine along the path
    Shrine along the path

    This old shrine must have been dedicated to the ancestors of a family. It also has the torii entrance.

  • Thumbnail for Imperial burial ground
    Imperial burial ground

    This is another view of the space in cocrejpn0196.

  • Thumbnail for Kobo Daishi's shrine
  • Thumbnail for Standing bathing statues
  • Thumbnail for Festival -- ommatsuri, fall festival, Morioka, image 4.
    Festival -- ommatsuri, fall festival, Morioka, image 4.

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Traditional Shinto wedding at Itsukushima Shrine
    Traditional Shinto wedding at Itsukushima Shrine

    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 “Married Shinto, Buried Buddhist.†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.

  • Thumbnail for Akihito Takes a Wife
    Akihito Takes a Wife

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Shrine on the Island of Miyajima
    Shrine on the Island of Miyajima

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Shinto Falls
    Shinto Falls

    A clear waterfall at a shrine in Nagasaki.

  • Thumbnail for Kamakura Shrine
    Kamakura Shrine

    A cat enjoys some sun at a shrine in Kamakura.

  • Thumbnail for Nara Shrine
    Nara Shrine

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

  • Thumbnail for Roof Detail
    Roof Detail

    Detail of the tiled roofline at the Meiji Shrine.

  • Thumbnail for Horses
    Horses by Sunraku, Kano (1559-1635)

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Left "wing" at Kashima Shrine
  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Old tree stump enshrined
    Ikuta Jinja - Old tree stump enshrined

    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.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Instructions for worship at a shrine
    Ikuta Jinja - Instructions for worship at a shrine

    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."