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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Shrine Architecture
Yamamiya, Satomiya
"Mountain shrine" and "village shrine." In cases where a shrine complex is composed of multiple sanctuaries, the one located at the top or midway up the side of a mountain is called the yamamiya (mountain shrine), while the one located near human habitation at the foot of the mountain is called the satomiya (village shrine). The yamamiya may also be called the okumiya or okusha (remote shrine), while the satomiya found low on the mountain is sometimes called the shimosha (lower shrine).

According to generally accepted views, satomiya were first established as expedients to allow more convenient worship of kami originally enshrined in remote yamamiya located higher on the mountain. In some cases, a single yamamiya may be associated with multiple satomiya. Also, while the satomiya normally functions as a shrine continuously throughout the year, the yamamiya is accessible only during festivals, and during the period from spring until early fall, when the mountain is considered "open" to visitors. Representative examples of yamamiya-satomiya pairs include the shrines Mitake Jinja, Sengen Jinja, and Kanasana Jinja.

-Nakayama Kaoru
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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