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Shinto Shrine News

Fushimi Inari Shrine — Protector of rice and sake in Kyoto, Japan Special

Kyoto - Fushimi Inari Taisha, a Shinto Shrine located on the foothills of a mountain in Kyoto, is dedicated to the Inari spirit protecting agricultural production; it is famous for its thousands of red-orange torii gates connecting several religious buildings.

Todai-ji — The monumental Buddhist temple of Nara, Japan Special

Nara - The Todai-ji Buddhist complex of Nara, Japan, consists of several buildings of which the largest one, an enormous wooden structure known as Great Buddha Hall houses the seated 15-metre high statue of Vairocana, the largest bronze Buddha image in Japan.

Photo Essay: Kasuga Shrine — Three thousand lanterns of faith Special

Nara - The Kasuga Grand Shrine is one of the most important Shinto Shrines in Japan. The paths leading to the shrine and the grounds within the complex have thousands of stone and bronze lanterns conveying a feeling of beautiful harmony and religious mysticism.
 

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Near the entrance to the Shrine one can buy  a  Onikuji  for ¥200. The Onikuji is a small piece of ...
Near the entrance to the Shrine one can buy a "Onikuji" for ¥200. The Onikuji is a small piece of paper, in the language of one's choice, where one's fortune is written. People tie the piece of paper to the twig of a tree to either promote good fortune or negate unfavourable predictions.
Beautiful  large bronze lanterns stand in front of the Main Hall of Kasuga Shrine. Note the relief i...
Beautiful, large bronze lanterns stand in front of the Main Hall of Kasuga Shrine. Note the relief images of "sacred" deer on the base of the lanterns.
This is the entrance to the path of the thousands of torii gates that go up the Inari Mountain. In s...
This is the entrance to the path of the thousands of torii gates that go up the Inari Mountain. In some sections the tunnel of red torii gates runs in parallel.
Next to the Main Temple of Fushimi Inari is the Worship Shrine or  Haiden  where worshipers pay thei...
Next to the Main Temple of Fushimi Inari is the Worship Shrine or "Haiden" where worshipers pay their respects to the kami by pulling a ribbon, playing a bell, and performing a sequence of bows and hand clapping (see video below).
Several red-painted structures in the grounds of Fushimi Inari are dedicated to the sale of small to...
Several red-painted structures in the grounds of Fushimi Inari are dedicated to the sale of small torii gates, talismans, good-luck charms, and fox-shaped wish tablets.
Most lanterns in the Inner Section of Kasuga Grand Shrine have similar shape  but different design o...
Most lanterns in the Inner Section of Kasuga Grand Shrine have similar shape, but different design on the side panels.
The Minamimon (South Gate). This is the main entrance to the shrine complex. Since the 8th Century t...
The Minamimon (South Gate). This is the main entrance to the shrine complex. Since the 8th Century the structures are renovated every 20 years, according to Shinto tradition.
The fox statues  usually a male and a female  represent the messengers of the spirit or Kami of the ...
The fox statues, usually a male and a female, represent the messengers of the spirit or Kami of the Inari deity. They wear a votive red bib and hold a scroll or a key in their mouth. The scroll contains Buddhist readings and the key allows access to the granary where the rice is kept.
Going up the hill the torii gates are plain  without inscriptions.
Going up the hill the torii gates are plain, without inscriptions.
Those who cannot afford to donate a large torii gate but still wish to worship the kami  can purchas...
Those who cannot afford to donate a large torii gate but still wish to worship the kami, can purchase miniature torii gates and place them in red-painted racks.
Figurines of the “beckoning cat”  also known as lucky cat  or fortune cat (known in Japan as “...
Figurines of the “beckoning cat”, also known as lucky cat, or fortune cat (known in Japan as “'maneki-neko”), are sold to the faithful in shops outside Fushimi Inari. Maneki-nekos are a common Japanese lucky charm, which can bring benefits to the owner. The figurine is usually made of ceramic, with a decoration around the neck, adorned with coins or food items, and holding up a paw. White cats are for good luck, black cats for good health, and gold cats bring monetary wealth.
The path to Kasuga Grand Shrine is lined with hundreds of lanterns. The purpose of the fairly long p...
The path to Kasuga Grand Shrine is lined with hundreds of lanterns. The purpose of the fairly long pathway is to provide time and space for visitors to clear their minds and prepare for worship.
Lanterns on the way to Kasuga Shrine. Since nature is the focus of the Shinto religion  Shinto shrin...
Lanterns on the way to Kasuga Shrine. Since nature is the focus of the Shinto religion, Shinto shrines are frequently located at hillside forests or near natural environments.
View of the  Utsushidono  building. At least 1000 brass and bronze lanterns hang from the structures...
View of the "Utsushidono" building. At least 1000 brass and bronze lanterns hang from the structures in the inner section of the Kasuga Grand Shrine.
The inscriptions showing the name of individuals  families  or businesses that donated each torii ga...
The inscriptions showing the name of individuals, families, or businesses that donated each torii gate is in the opposite side of the torii and can be seen in the way back from the hill.
Kasuga Grand Shrine  Nara. The  Ninai Tea Room  is located next to the entrance to the Shrine’s Bo...
Kasuga Grand Shrine, Nara. The "Ninai Tea Room" is located next to the entrance to the Shrine’s Botanical Garden.
The Middle Gate and entrance to the Main Hall. In front of this gate there are several special lante...
The Middle Gate and entrance to the Main Hall. In front of this gate there are several special lanterns (red curved tops) described as Omiya-style lanterns.
A recently placed lantern stands out among several older lamps. Most buildings  fences and gates in ...
A recently placed lantern stands out among several older lamps. Most buildings, fences and gates in a Shinto Shrine are painted orange-red (vermilion) and black.
When the stone lanterns are lit  the side openings are partially covered with paper to extend the bu...
When the stone lanterns are lit, the side openings are partially covered with paper to extend the burn time of the candles.
The second torii gate is bright orange-red and leads to the main entrance into the Fushimi Inari Tai...
The second torii gate is bright orange-red and leads to the main entrance into the Fushimi Inari Taisha complex.

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