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Shrine Architecture


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§ History and Typology of Shrine Architecture

History and Typology of Shrine Architecture Because shrine grounds or precincts (keidai) are considered "sacred", some kind of separating device is used to demarcate the shrine grounds from outside "profane" areas. The road or path approaching the shrine generally features one or more ritual ar...

Aidono

A structure enshrining multiple kami in addition to the principal object of worship (shushin). In some cases, the term aidono is be used even when all jointly enshrined kami are considered principal objects of worship. kami enshrined in an aidono are called aidono no kami (jointly enshrined kami or...

Beppyō jinja

Literally, "shrines on the exceptional list." A classification given to certain shrines by the Association of Shinto Shrines (Jinja Honchō) in consideration of the shrine's pedigree or activities. In accordance with Article 5 of the Association's Regulations for Promotion of Officers, a beppy&...

Betsugū

Literally, "detached shrine" or "separate shrine." An auxiliary shrine existing in a main-branch relationship to its central or main shrine (honsha, hongū ). Also called bessha. In practice, a detached shrine and its main shrine may be related in a variety of ways, but in principle the relatio...

Chokusaisha

A shrine observing rituals at which an imperial envoy (chokushi) participates and presents offerings; officially known as a chokushi sankō no jinja ("shrine attended by imperial envoy"). Shrines entitled to chokusai status have existed since ancient times, as typified by the Heian-period syste...

Edayashiro

Literally, "branch shrine," a term used to describe a smaller auxiliary shrine located on the precincts of a larger shrine. Also called an edamiya, a shrine whose object of worship, in turn, is referred to as an edagami. The term edagami originally referred to a kami possessing a special relationsh...

Gokoku jinja

"Shrines for the protection of the nation," shrines dedicated to the spirits of individuals who died in Japanese wars from the end of the early modern period through World War II. Throughout most of the prewar period these shrines were known as shōkonsha or " spirit-inviting shrines," but all ...

Haiden

In shrine architecture, the "hall of worship" or oratory, a building provided for the performance of ceremonies and for paying worship to the shrine's kami. Normally located in the foreground of the shrine's sanctuary (honden), the haiden is usually built on a somewhat larger scale than the honden,...

Heiden

A shrine structure meant to hold sacred offerings or heihaku, but most often constructed as a continuous section linking a shrine's sanctuary (honden) and oratory (haiden). In the architectural style called Gongen-zukuri, when the stone-paved floor of the heiden is constructed at a lower elevation ...

Himorogi

Originating in ancient times, himorogi refers to a temporarily erected sacred space or "altar" used as a locus of worship. Today, himorogi are represented by the demarcation of a physical area with branches of green bamboo or sakaki at the four corners, between which are strung sacred border ropes ...

Hokora

A small shrine dedicated to a minor kami. The term may also be read hokura. Originally, the term referred to a storeroom (kura) raised on stilts for the storage of shrine treasures (shinpō). A passage in the Nihongi notes that "a shrine storehouse (kamikura) is called ho-ku-ra." In the medieva...

Honden

Also called shōden, the "sanctuary," or central structure of a shrine prepared as the seat (shinza) of the deity forming the object of worship (saijin). The honden is considered the most sacred space within the shrine, and its sacred doors (mitobira) are normally kept closed and locked; the op...

Iwakura

A formation of rocks to which a kami is invited to descend for worship, and considered to be holy ground. Together with ishigami(stone-kami) and iwasaka, such forms of worship represent a type of rock-worshiping cult. As worship is repeated at the site, the rocks themselves may come to be treated i...

Iwasaka

A stone altar or cairn erected in ancient times for the purpose of invoking the presence of a kami at times of worship. According to an "alternative tradition" describing the episode of the "Descent of the Heavenly Grandchild" (tenson kōrin) in the Nihongi, Takamimusubi erected a "heavenly him...

Kaguraden

A pavilion or stage used for the offering of sacred dance (kagura). Also called maidono. Permanent structures for the performance of ritual dance appeared from the late Heian period, and were disseminated widely during the subsequent Kamakura period. In some cases, one part of another shrine struct...

Kannabi

A place serving as residence to a kami, particularly used to refer to a sacred forest or mountain. The word appears to originate from a term meaning "divine seclusion," and is considered a synonym for the word mimoro, an ancient name for Mt. Miwa. Man'yōshū includes numerous verses that e...

Karidono

Also called kariden, a "provisional hall" used to temporarily house the divine emblem (shintai), in contrast to the main sanctuary (honden). Such provisional structures are necessary when rebuilding or repairing the main shrine, in cases of disaster, or when installing a new divine emblem. At such ...

Katsuogi, Chigi

Two characteristic features of shrine architecture, katsuogi refer to log-like sections laid horizontally along and perpendicular to, the ridge line of the structure, while chigi refer to poles that appear to extend from the roof's gableboards, intersecting at the ridge and continuing upwards for s...

Kenmusha

"Jointly administered shrine," a shrine lacking its own parish priest and served by a priest belonging to another shrine. This system is an inevitable result of the fact that the number of Shinto shrines far outstrips the number of available professional priests, and the fact that it is frequently ...

Kinsokuchi

"Tabooed land," a type of sacred space. Normally found within a shrine's precincts (keidaichi) or related lands, tabooed land is prohibited for human entry since it is believed to be the area where a divine spirit dwells or descends. Typical examples of tabooed land would include the "divine mounta...



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