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December 09 2012

Kanda Myojin tethered horse - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Zuishin-mon, Kanda Myojin Shrine, Tokyo

I was writing half a year ago about how to identify Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples and about the exceptions from the gate-torii rule. One remarkable exception is the Kanda Myojin Shrine from Tokyo, which although is a Shinto shrine features a gate like in the Buddhist temples.

On the exterior side, the gate has the Zuijin guardians, but inside there are two statues representing… horses. This is because here is enshrined Taira no Masakado, a respected and famous samurai who lived in the Heian period, whose emblem was the tethered horse…

August 19 2012

Japanese spiritual architecture - Myojin torii - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Torii, Hakone Shrine, Hakone

A month ago, after I showed you the unusual shime torii from Hiroshima, I received quite a few questions regarding the other styles…
Judging by the construction style, we can identify 2 large categories of torii and the most frequently used is the one in this photo, the myōjin style.

Besides the two pillars (called hashira), the myōjin style features a large horizontal beam made from two parts, called kasagi - the black part and shimaki - the vermilion part, reinforced by a smaller beam (the nuki). An important detail is that the myōjin torii has the kasagi and shimaki slightly curved upwards…

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