The Path of 1,000 Torii (Fushimi Inari, Part 3)

(Click here to start the series from the beginning.) Near the base of Mount Inari (Inariyama), past the stairs that lead from the Hondo (worship hall) to the path that climbs the sacred mountain, lies the famous “Path of a Thousand Torii” – a tunnel made of sacred gates that has become a familiar, iconic image of Japan: At the start of the path, enormous torii tower twenty and thirty feet high, dwarfing visitors. Inside the path, the gates are placed so close together that the light takes on an orange hue:

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A Visit to Itsukushima Jinja (part 2)

During last summer’s research trip to Japan, I visited Itsukushima Jinja, an important Shinto shrine on Miyajima island in Hiroshima Prefecture. (If you’d like to start from the beginning, you can find part 1 here.) The approach to the shrine follows the island’s shoreline to the natural inlet that protects the shrine from the strait beyond. Today, visitors approach the shrine by land. Visitors enter the shrine itself. Like most Shinto shrines, there is no admission fee (though donations are happily accepted, and freely given by most of the visitors). Here’s the view from the entrance hall, looking out toward the shrine’s main buildings: In

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