A Shinto shrine is a structure whose main purpose is to house one or more kami. Its most important building is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects, not for worship. Although only one word is used in English, in Japanese Shinto shrines may carry any one of many different, non-equivalent names like gongen, -gū, jingū, mori, myōjin, -sha, ubusuna or yashiro. Structurally, a Shinto shrine is characterized by the presence of a honden or sanctuary, where the kami is enshrined; the honden may however be absent, as for example when the shrine stands on a sacred mountain to which it is dedicated, and, worshiped directly. The honden may be missing when there are nearby altar-like structures called himorogi or objects believed capable of attracting spirits called yorishiro that can serve as a direct bond to a kami. There may be a haiden and other structures as well. However, a shrine's most important building is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects rather than for worship. Miniature shrines can be found on roadsides.
Large shrines sometimes have on their precincts miniature shrines. The portable shrines which are carried on poles during festivals enshrine kami and are therefore true shrines. In 927 CE, the Engi-shiki was promulgated; this work listed all of the 2,861 Shinto shrines existing at the time, the 3,131 official-recognized and enshrined Kami. That number has grown and exceeded this figure through the following generations. In Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan placed the number of shrines at 79,467 affiliated with the Association of Shinto Shrines; some shrines, such as the Yasukuni Shrine are independent of any outside authority. The number of Shinto shrines in Japan is estimated to be around 100,000; this figure may, or may not, include private shrines in homes and owned by small groups, abandoned or derelict shrines, roadside Hokora. etc. Ancestors are kami to be worshiped. Yayoi-period village councils sought the advice of ancestors and other kami, developed instruments to evoke them. Yoshishiro means "approach substitute" and were conceived to attract the kami to allow them physical space, thus making kami accessible to human beings.
Village-council sessions were held in quiet spots in the mountains or in forests near great trees or other natural objects that served as yorishiro. These sacred places and their yorishiro evolved into today's shrines, whose origins can be still seen in the Japanese words for "mountain" and "forest", which can mean "shrine". Many shrines have on their grounds one of the original great yorishiro: a big tree, surrounded by a sacred rope called shimenawa; the first buildings at places dedicated to worship were huts built to house some yorishiro. A trace of this origin can be found in the term hokura, "deity storehouse", which evolved into hokora, is considered to be one of the first words for shrine. True shrines arose with the beginning of agriculture, when the need arose to attract kami to ensure good harvests; these were, just temporary structures built for a particular purpose, a tradition of which traces can be found in some rituals. Hints of the first shrines can still be found there. Ōmiwa Shrine in Nara, for example, contains no sacred images or objects because it is believed to serve the mountain on which it stands.
Those images or objects are therefore unnecessary. For the same reason, it has a worship hall but no place to house the kami. Archeology confirms that, during the Yayoi period, the most common shintai in the earliest shrines were nearby mountain peaks that supplied stream water to the plains where people lived. Besides the mentioned Ōmiwa Shrine, another important example is Mount Nantai, a phallus-shaped mountain in Nikko which constitutes Futarasan Shrine's shintai; the name Nantai means "man's body". The mountain not only provides water to the rice paddies below but has the shape of the phallic stone rods found in pre-agricultural Jōmon sites. In 905 CE, Emperor Daigo ordered a compilation of Shinto rules. Previous attempts at codification are known to have taken place, neither the Konin nor the Jogan Gishiki survive. Under the direction of Fujiwara no Tokihira, the project stalled at his death in April 909. Fujiwara no Tadahira, his brother, took charge and in 912 CE and in 927 CE the Engi-shiki was promulgated in fifty volumes.
This, the first formal codification of Shinto rites and Norito to survive, became the basis for all subsequent Shinto liturgical practice and efforts. In addition to the first ten volumes of this fifty volume work, sections in subsequent volumes addressing the Ministry of Ceremonies and the Ministry of the Imperial Household regulated Shinto worship and contained liturgical rites and regulation. Felicia Gressitt Brock published a two-volume annotated English language translation of the first ten volumes with an introduction entitled Engi-shiki; the arrival of Buddhism changed the situation, introducing to Japan the concept of the permanent shrine. A great number of Buddhist temples were built next to existing shrines in mixed complexes called jingū-ji (神宮寺, lit. shri
Hirairi or hirairi-zukuri is a Japanese traditional architectural structure, where the building has its main entrance on the side which runs parallel to the roof's ridge. The shinmei-zukuri, nagare-zukuri, hachiman-zukuri, hie-zukuri Shinto architectural styles belong to this type, it survives in religious settings. In residential buildings, the entrance side is the long one, but from the Edo period onward the opposite became more frequent
Shinden-zukuri refers to the style of domestic architecture developed for palatial or aristocratic mansions built in Heian-kyō in the Heian period in 10th century Japan. Shinden-zukuri developed into sukiya-zukuri. During the Kamakura period, it developed into buke-zukuri; the main characteristics of the shinden-zukuri are a special symmetry of the group of buildings and undeveloped space between them. A mansion was set on a one chō square; the main building, the shinden, is on the central north-south axis and faces south on an open courtyard. Two subsidiary buildings, the tai-no-ya, are built to the right and left of the shinden, both running east-west; the tai-no-ya and the shinden are connected by two corridors called sukiwatadono and watadono. A chūmon-rō at the half-way points of the two corridors lead to a south courtyard, where many ceremonies were celebrated. From the watadono, narrow corridors extend south and end in tsuridono, small pavilions that travel in a U-shape around the courtyard.
Wealthier aristocrats built more buildings behind the tai-no-ya. The room at the core of the shinden is surrounded by a one ken wide roofed aisle called hisashi; the moya is one big space partitioned by portable screens. Guests and residents of the house are seated on mats. Since the shinden-zukuri-style house flourished during the Heian period, houses tended to be furnished and adorned with characteristic art of the era. In front of the moya across the courtyard is a garden with a pond. Water runs from a stream into a large pond to the south of the courtyard; the pond had islets and bridges combined with mountain shapes and rocks aimed at creating the feeling of being in the land of the Amida Buddha. Officers and guards lived by the east gates; the buke-zukuri was the style of houses built for military families. It was similar in structure to the regular shinden-zukuri with a few room changes to accommodate the differences between the aristocratic family and the military family. During the time when military families rose in power over the aristocrats, living quarters changed.
Each lord had to build extra space in order to keep his soldiers around him at all times with their weapons within reach on the grounds in case of a sudden attack. To help guard against these attacks, a yagura or tower was built and torches were scattered around the gardens so they could be lit as as possible. With the increase of people living under the same roof, extra rooms called hiro-bisashi were built grouped around the shinden; the zensho was built bigger in order to accommodate the required people needed to cook all the food for the soldiers and members of the household. Unlike the shinden-zukuri, buke-zukuri homes were simple and practical, keeping away from the submersion into art and beauty that led to the downfall of the Heian court. Rooms characteristic of a buke-zukuri home are as follows: Dei Saikusho Tsubone Kuruma-yadori Jibutsu-dō Gakumon-jō Daidokoro Takibi-no-ma Baba-den Umaya The buke-zukuri style changed throughout the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, over times the rooms in a buke-zukuri style house decreased as daimyōs started to use castles.
See Shoin-zukuri. There are no remaining original examples of Shinden-zukuri-style homes, however some current structures follow the same styles and designs: Heian Palace Byōdō-in's Phoenix Hall Hōjō-ji "The Rise and Decline of Bukezukuri" P. D. Perkins, Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 2, No. 2. Pp. 596–608. "The Phoenix Hall at Uji and the Symmetries of Replication Mimi Hall" Yiengpruksawan, The Art Bulletin, Vol. 77, No. 4. Pp. 647–672. "Shinden-zukuri no kokyu" Dr. Shoin Maeda, Nippon Kenchiku Zasshi Very extensive article with pictures AISF | Shindenzukuri
Tsumairi or Tsumairi-zukuri is a Japanese traditional architectural structure where the building has its main entrance on one or both of the gabled sides. The kasuga-zukuri, taisha-zukuri, sumiyoshi-zukuri Shinto architectural styles all belong to this type
Chigi, Okichigi or Higi are forked roof finials found in Japanese and Shinto Architecture. Chigi predate Buddhist are an architectural element endemic to Japan, they are an important aesthetic aspect of Shinto shrines, where they are paired with katsuogi, another type of roof ornamentation. Today and katsuogi are used on Shinto buildings and distinguish them from other religious structures, such as Buddhist temples in Japan. Chigi are thought to have been employed on Japanese buildings starting from the 1st century AD, their existence during the Jōmon period is well documented by numerous artifacts. Measurements for chigi were mentioned in an early document, the Taishinpō Enryaku Gishikichō, written in 804 AD; the evolutionary origins of the chigi are not known. One theory is that they were interlocking bargeboard planks that were left uncut. Another is, yet another theory proposes that they were used to hold thatch roofing together. Evidence of this can be seen in minka, or common traditional homes, where two interlocking timbers are found at the roof gables.
However, the only certain fact is that chigi were a working part of the structure, but as building techniques improved, their function was lost and they were left as decorations. Chigi were only to have decorated the homes and warehouses of powerful families, more decorations signified higher rank; this traditional continued until recent times. In the 17th to 19th centuries, the legal code dictated how many chigi were allowed on a building roofs in accordance with the owner's social rank. Today, chigi are found only on Shinto shrines. Chigi may be built directly into the roof as part of the structure, or attached and crossed over the gable as an ornament; the former method is believed to closer resemble its original design, is still utilized in older building methods such as shinmei-zukuri, kasuga-zukuri, taisha-zukuri. Chigi that aren't built into the building are crossed, sometimes cut with a slight curve. While chigi are predominantly placed only at the ends of the roof, this method allows them to sometimes be placed in the middle as well.
More ornate chigi, such as at Ise Shrine, are cut with one or two kaza-ana, or "wind-slots", a third open cut at the tip, giving it a forked appearance. Gold metal coverings serve both ornamental purposes. If the tops are cut vertically, the enshrined kami is a male, otherwise a female; the katsuogi, a short decorative log, is found behind the chigi. Depending on the building, there may be only one katsuogi accompanying the chigi, or an entire row along the ridge of the roof. Names for chigi can vary from region. In Kyoto, Nara Prefecture, Hiroshima, they are called uma. In parts of Toyama, Osaka, Kōchi and Miyazaki prefectures, they are called umanori. Katsuogi Shinto architecture Shinto shrine The Glossary of Shinto for terms concerning Shinto and Shinto architecture
Buddhism in Japan
Buddhism in Japan has been practiced since its official introduction in 552 CE according to the Nihon Shoki from Baekje, Korea, by Buddhist monks. Buddhism has had a major influence on the development of Japanese society and remains an influential aspect of the culture to this day. In modern times, Japan's popular schools of Buddhism are Pure Land Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism, Shingon Buddhism and Zen; as of 2008 34% of the Japanese identify as Buddhists and the number has been growing since the 1980s, in terms of membership in organized religion. However, in terms of practice, 75% practice some form of Buddhism. About 60% of the Japanese have a Butsudan in their homes; the arrival of Buddhism in China is a consequence of the first contacts between China and Central Asia, where Buddhism had spread from the Indian subcontinent. These contacts occurred with the opening of the Silk Road in the 2nd century BCE, following the travels of Zhang Qian between 138 and 126 BCE; these contacts culminated with the official introduction of Buddhism in China in 67 CE.
Historians agree that by the middle of the 1st century, the religion had penetrated to areas north of the Huai River in China. According to the Book of Liang, written in 635, five Buddhist monks from Gandhara traveled to Japan in 467. At the time, they referred to Japan as Fusang, the name of a mythological country to the extreme east beyond the sea: Fusang is located to the east of China, 20,000 li east of the state of Da Han. In former times, the people of Fusang knew nothing of the Buddhist religion, but in the second year of Da Ming of the Song Dynasty, five monks from Kipin travelled by ship to Fusang, they propagated Buddhist doctrine, circulated scriptures and drawings, advised the people to relinquish worldly attachments. As a result the customs of Fusang changed. Although there are records of Buddhist monks from China coming to Japan before the Asuka Period, the "official" introduction of Buddhism to Japan is dated to 552 in Nihon Shoki when King Seong of Baekje sent a mission to the Emperor Kinmei that included Buddhist monks or nuns together with an image of Buddha and a number of sutras to introduce Buddhism.
The powerful Soga clan played a key role in the early spread of Buddhism in the country. Initial uptake of the new faith was slow, Buddhism only started to spread some years when Empress Suiko encouraged the acceptance of Buddhism among all Japanese people. According to legend, in Japan in 552, there was an attempt to destroy a tooth relic, one of the first of Buddha’s to arrive in the country. On January 15, 593, Soga no Umako ordered relics of Buddha deposited inside the foundation stone under the pillar of a pagoda at Asuka-dera. In 607, in order to obtain copies of sutras, an imperial envoy was dispatched to Sui China; as time progressed and the number of Buddhist clergy increased, the offices of Sōjō and Sōzu were created. By 627, there were 46 Buddhist temples, 816 Buddhist priests, 569 Buddhist nuns in Japan; the initial period saw the six great Chinese schools, called Nanto Rokushū in Japanese were introduced to the Japanese archipelago: Ritsu Jōjitsu Kusha-shū Sanronshū Hossō Kegon These schools were centered around the ancient capitals of Asuka and Nara, where great temples such as the Asuka-dera and Tōdai-ji were erected respectively.
These were not exclusive schools, temples were apt to have scholars versed in several of the schools. It has been suggested that they can best be thought of as "study groups"; the Buddhism of these periods, known as the Asuka period and Nara period – was not a practical religion, being more the domain of learned priests whose official function was to pray for the peace and prosperity of the state and imperial house. This kind of Buddhism had little to offer to the illiterate and uneducated masses and led to the growth of "people’s priests" who were not ordained and had no formal Buddhist training, their practice was a combination of Buddhist and Daoist elements and the incorporation of shamanistic features of indigenous practices. Some of these figures became immensely popular and were a source of criticism towards the sophisticated academic and bureaucratic Buddhism of the capital; the Late Nara period saw the introduction of Tangmi to Japan from China by Kūkai and Saichō, who founded Shingon Buddhism and the Tendai school, respectively.
During the Heian period the capital was shifted from Nara to Kyoto. Monasteries became centers of powers establishing armies of Sōhei, warrior-monks. Shinto and Buddhism became the dominant religions, maintaining a balance until the Meiji-restoration; the Kamakura period was a period of crisis in which the control of the country moved from the imperial aristocracy to the samurai. In 1185 the Kamakura shogunate was established at Kamakura; this period saw the introduction of the two schools that had the greatest impact on the country: the schools of Pure Land Buddhism, promulgated by evangelists such as Genshin and articulated by monks such as Hōnen, which emphasize salvation through faith in Amitābha and remain the largest Buddhist sect in Japan.