Architecture and Sacred Spaces in Shinto
Learning about Shinto through Architecture
Shinto - "the way of the kami" - is deeply rooted in pre-historic Japanese religious and agricultural practices. The term kami can refer to Japanese mythological deities, but also can mean divinity manifested in natural objects, places, animals, and even human beings. Shinto rituals and celebrations stress harmony between deities, man, and nature -- a key feature of Japanese religious life and art to the present time. This page uses the architecture of Shinto shrines as a window into Shinto practices and worldview. Materials presented here were developed by teachers in a year-long ORIAS program, Teaching Comparative Religion Through Art and Architecture.
This page is divided into seven illustrated sections:
Harmony with Nature
The Geography of Sacred Space
Influence of Buddhism
Organization of Sacred Space
Image Credits & Bibliography
Drawings of Izumo Shrine Complex: Robert Treat Paine and Alexander Soper, The Art and Architecture of Japan. Yale University Press, 1981. P. 283.
Purification at Kiyomizu: Donna Kasprowicz
Music Hall and Music Platform: ORIAS archives
Wooden model of Ise Shrine: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra Sanctuaire shintoïste Ise Jingu (exposition Fukami, Paris) via flickr
Kodenchi at Ise Shrine: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra Le futur site du sanctuaire intérieur d'Ise (Japon) via flickr
Earhart, H. Byron. Japanese Religion: Unity and Diversity. Third Edition. California: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1982.
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd. 1993.
Nelson, John. 2000. Enduring Identities: the Guise of Shinto in Contemporary Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
Paine, Robert Treat and Alexander Soper. The Art and Architecture of Japan. Yale University Press, 1981.
William, Alex. Japanese Architecture. New York: G. Braziller, 1968.