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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Shrine Architecture
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 medieval period, however, the term came to be used for a small shrine dedicated to a kami that did not warrant the construction of a full-fledged jinja. A variety of character combinations was used to indicate the pronunciation hokura, including those shown above, and the term came to be interpreted as meaning a "narrow store" (hoso-kura). At present, the term hokora is used to refer to small auxiliary shrines located within the precincts (keidaichi) of a larger shrine, but built on a smaller scale and dedicated to local folk-religious cults, or else found along roadsides outside of shrine precincts and dedicated to kami not under the jurisdiction of any specific shrine. Small shrines dedicated to the border deities called dōsojin would fall into this latter category.

-Mori Mizue
A hokora shrine in front of a aphananthe tree on the grounds of Saigū Jinja.

Kyoto Prefecture, 2006

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