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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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A large grey torii gate announces the proximity of the entrance to Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine in Ky...
A large grey torii gate announces the proximity of the entrance to Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine in Kyoto, Japan.
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The Temizuya. While clearing of the soul takes place during the walk along the path to the Shrine  p...
The Temizuya. While clearing of the soul takes place during the walk along the path to the Shrine, purification of the body occurs at the Temizuya, a water fountain and basin at the entrance to the shrine where worshipers wash their hands using the small wooden ladles.
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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.
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The Fujinaminoya. A hall in the inner section of  Kasuga Shrine with an astounding collection of bra...
The Fujinaminoya. A hall in the inner section of Kasuga Shrine with an astounding collection of brass and bronze lanterns. These lanterns remain lit continuously.
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Bronze lanterns hang from the eaves of the Naoraiden Hall. The Mitarashi brook flows peacefully alon...
Bronze lanterns hang from the eaves of the Naoraiden Hall. The Mitarashi brook flows peacefully along several buildings in the inner area of the Shrine complex.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Going up the hill the torii gates are plain  without inscriptions.
Going up the hill the torii gates are plain, without inscriptions.
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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.
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Wooden tablets with the shape of a fox head known as “Ema” can also be purchased for a small cha...
Wooden tablets with the shape of a fox head known as “Ema” can also be purchased for a small charge. Worshipers can draw the face of the fox, write their wish in the reverse of the tablet and hang it in special racks.
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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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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.
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Every pathway  corridor  or stairway in the grounds of Kasuga Grand Shrine is lined by stone lantern...
Every pathway, corridor, or stairway in the grounds of Kasuga Grand Shrine is lined by stone lanterns.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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