The Water Gate at Hakone Shrine

The Water Gate at Hakone Shrine

Today we continue the virtual tour of Hakone Shrine with a trip to the water gate. In the Shintō faith, torii (the red-orange gate in the images) mark the boundary between the secular and the sacred – though on occasion, it often seems that the areas on both sides of the torii are equally sacred. The water gate at Hakone Shrine is one of those places.

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Visiting Hakone Shrine: Subshrines & Komainu

Visiting Hakone Shrine: Subshrines & Komainu

(To read this series from the beginning, click here!) Hakone Shrine sits on the shore of Lake Ashi, in a grove of massive, sacred trees. The scents of pine and cedar follow visitors up the shaded paths. In winter months you may also catch a whiff of wood smoke in the air. After visiting the purification fountain, most visitors either head down to the water gate on the shore of Lake Ashi or up the steps to the shrine’s main worship hall.

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Kanda Myojin – the Tutelary Shrine of Edo

Kanda Jinja (also known as Kanda Myojin) is one of Tokyo’s oldest Shintō shrines. Founded in 730, the shrine was originally located in Chiyoda-ku, near the Imperial palace; it was moved to its current location in 1603, when Tokugawa Ieyasu moved the Japanese capital from Kyoto to Edo (now Tokyo). The shrine’s entrance is unassuming–in fact, you could easily miss it if you didn’t know what you were looking for.  The torii that marks the official approach stands on a downtown street, between a pair of buildings. The shrine’s main entrance gate sits just beyond the torii. If you visit, don’t rush past the

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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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