A Guide to Kyoto’s Wooden and Traditional Architecture
The majority of the religious structures you see in Kyoto are either of Buddhist or Shinto Origin. Shinto, or ”the way of God,” is the indigenous religion of Japan, where deities and spirits of nature are often the subject of worship. Buddhist structures are called Temples, and Shinto structures are called Shrines.
While there have been considerable influences of Buddhist architecture over the years, many aspects of the sacred structure and spaces of Shinto architecture remain rather distinctive. Torii (鳥居), a most commonly built from a pair of vertical pillars capped with a lintel and a tie beam, for example, are generally found only in Shinto Shrines. Torii marks the entrance to the inner sacred zone of a Shinto Shrine.
Torii has long been one of the symbols of Japanese culture. While they can be seen across the many different shrines in Japan, the Senbon Torii Tunnel (千本鳥居) in Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) is perhaps one of the most well known of such. Fushimi Inari Taisha is worshipped for its Inari deity, who is the god of prosperity amongst other things. Businesses have had the tradition of donating these vermillion coloured Torii to the Shrine since a few hundred years ago, and in turn creating a series of unique Torii tunnels on the hills of the Shinto site. With natural light penetrating the small gaps between each Torii, the Senbon Torii Tunnel is a remarkable space made possible by the diverse arrangement of each Torii structure.
Even though Suikoushya International Craft School is now up and running in France, our Kyoto workshop will still continue to operate and we want to welcome you when you’re in Kyoto!
Senbon Torii~woodworking master class in ile de france~