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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Shrine Architecture
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, and tends to be the structure most noticed by ordinary worshipers. While the honden is the structure actually enclosing the seat of the kami(shinza), the haiden is the place where visitors engage in acts of worship, such as participating in various rituals and making entreaties of the kami. Some shrines of the late Heian period are known to have possessed structures called reiden for the performance of worship; similar structures called haiden are known from the Kamakura period, and structures called hai no ya in the Muromachi period. Haiden are common at most shrines, but at the Grand Shrines of Ise, for example, ceremonies are conducted by priests in the open courtyard, and ordinary worshipers pay their respects from behind the Outer Sacred Fence (soto tamagaki gomon) located before the shrine buildings. As illustrated by this example, it is likely that worship was originally performed in front of and facing a honden, and specialized haiden originated in the building of storied decorative gateways (rōmon) or the placing of roofs on Myōjin style torii, or from the provisional use of a pavilion of dance (maidono; see also kaguraden) for the performance of rites during inclement weather. In time, these evolved into independent specialized structures that occupied important positions of function and appearance within shrines. In particular, in the style known as Gongen-zukuri, the haiden is incorporated into the architectural style of the honden, becoming an indivisible part of the latter structure.

-Mori Mizue
Footage of ordinary worshipers engaging in a service together with shrine priests in the Haiden at Minatogawa Jinja.

Hyōgo Prefecture, 2006

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