One of my favorite Shrines is this one in the village of Kamocho Takasari. Moriyawatamiya-jinja Shrine was set in amongst rocks just a few meters off a country lane.
After passing-through the vermilion colored Torii, and ascending the hundred or so steps, you reach the Shrine. On the two occasions I have been here, I have stayed about 1-hour and used the time to have a bite-to-eat, check my map and just take-in the surroundings.
This brings me to the part of this post where I explain to you what a Shrine is. Well I'm not, the people at Wikipedia are (when you have read this, you will understand why). In Japan, a Shrine is where devotees of the Shinto Religion come to pray. But Shrines are not just unique to Japan, as you will see in the following link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrine.
Shinto and Buddhism are the main Religions practiced in Japan, with a sprinkling of Christianity. Which brings me to a question I would dearly-love someone to help me find an answer for. In Japan, as I have just explained, a Shrine is home to devotees of Shinto and a Temple is home to devotees of Buddhism. But I have also been told that a Shrine is where one goes to pray to God, and a Temple where one prays to their ancestors, regardless, I presume, of denomination. True - or- false? Now (the plot thickens), if that is the case, what about this situation. On a recent outing to Yamashirocho (Yamashiro Town) I came-across a Temple nestled-amongst the hills and trees overlooking Kizugawashi (Kizugawa City). Gyokudai-ji Temple is a Zen Buddhist Temple but, as you will see in these photos, there is a Shrine on the complex.
On the left is the Torii and, further inside, is the Shrine.
Well, I think I have about exhausted your time with this topic. In the coming weeks I will post articles covering etiquette, when visiting a Shrine, and the many buildings that make-up the complex.
Before I sign-off, I will include 2-photos of Isa Grand Shrine, in Mie Prefecture. This makes interesting reading.
So, until next time, it's been my pleasure to share this with you and I look forward to any comments, suggestions and additions you may have.