Shintoism and architecture

In case you didn’t notice, I’m a huge fan of Asian culture, but mostly of the Japanese one.

Today, I’m going to tell you a bit about Shintoism and its architecture.

Shinto architecture is the architecture of Japanese shrines. Shinto shrines before Buddhism were mostly temporary structures erected to a particular purpose. Buddhism brought to Japan the idea of permanent shrines and the presence of verandas, which are a type of stone lanterns, and elaborate gates are some which are used both in a Shinto shrine and a Buddhist temple.

Unlike other religions, the composition of a Shinto shrine can be very variable. Even the honden, which is the sanctuary that hostes the kami (the good of the shrine) can be missing. However, there’s something that is placed most of the times, which is  a fence made of stone or wood called tamagaki.

The entrance of this shrines is called torii, it’s also always placed on the buildings and it’s maybe the most iconic element on Shinto shrines.

In this shrines, you can also find the heiden, or hall of offerings and the haiden, or hall of worships. Then, the honden, which is behind the haiden, contains the sacred body of the kami. Other noticeable feature of the shrine is the temizuya, which is the pabilion where visitors clean their hands and mouth (from left to right and then the mouth)on the chōzubachi, a tub full of water and bi spoons to take the water.

Unfortunatelly, out of all of this, only the haiden is open to the laity.