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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Objects of Worship and Shrine Treasures
The place within a shrine where symbols of the kami (mitamashiro; see also shintai) are enshrined. In Shrine Shinto a building is constructed as a place to worship the kami, and within that building a shinza is established, decorated in a manner appropriate for a dwelling of the kami, and furnished with an object (called a shintai) representing the presence of the kami. Accordingly, the form in which the shinza is found may vary widely according to the architectural style of the shrine's sanctuary (honden). In shrines of the shinmeizukuri style, the preferred type of shinza is called ontamanai; in the nagarezukuri style, the shinza should be of the michōdai type, and in the gongenzukuri style it should be of the otoku type.

The term ontamanai can also be written with characters meaning "a jewel is present," indicating a beautiful seat for the kami. Bases at the four corners are used to support four pillars that in turn support a decorated roof. Representative examples are those at the Grand Shrines of Ise, the Atsuta Shrine, and other shrines in the shinmeizukuri style. The michōdai style is a raised seat surrounded by a screen, based on the same structure found in the main rooms of shindenzukuri-style dwellings built by Heian-period nobles. The otoku style originates with the mitana (storage cabinets) used in the food-preparation room (mizushidokoro) of the palace. The divine seat here takes the form of a cabinet with two doors that open to the front. Examples include those at the shrines Kashima Jingū and Dazaifu Tenmangū. Other styles of shinza are also known with the names takamikura, hirashiki, daishōji, omiya, and shin'yo.

-Okada Yoshiyuki
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
4-10-28 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-8440, Japan
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