The Basics of Japanese Architecture~Shrines~

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

If you're interested at Japanese culture, you definitely know the above one, #Torii(鳥居),that’s the gateway to the Shrine, surely, it’s one component of the #shrine.

Shrine is considered as a very holy place, so it need to be separated from the outside bustling crowd.

We can find it in many anime works,


Formally speaking, A shrine contains the following buildings,

  • 本殿 The Main Shrine

  • 幣殿 The Offering Hall

  • 拝殿 The Worship Hall

  • 権殿 The Sub-Shrine

  • 舞殿 The Kagura Hall

It's very hard to know when the Shrine buildings emerged in the society , but one thing can be sured, it was deeply influenced by Buddhist Temple, and as the two's energys mixed, and begun to multiply, everyday, situations, they start to simplify^^ well, that's the thing.

Let's focus on the main shrine building first,

it's totally different with Buddhist Temple at frist, the biggest difference is the roof,

see the following picture, #Toshodaiji Temple (唐招提寺)in Nara, this roof type is called 寄棟造り #yosemunezukuri,hipped roof, in Chinese, we say " 庑殿顶" or"四坡屋顶" ,

It's nothing special in the world, and it is literally widely used by many architects,

But not very common in Shrine buildings,

One big feature of Main Shrine building is the 切妻造 #kirizumazukuri , "悬山顶" in Chinese, in English, gabled roof,

Additionally, 3 subtypes of the gabled roof,

流造り #nagarezukuri

is the most commonly used one in Japan, worship space is covered by the roof itself, example: 上賀茂神社、下鴨神社 in Kyoto.

春日造り #kasukazukuri

this type is popular in Kansai area, worship space is covered by a sub-roof.

example: 春日大社 in Nara.

権現造り #kongenzukuri

It's a little bit composited, a complex of main hall that is connected by a long and narrow corridor with worship hall, example: #日光東照宮 in #Nikko.

Hey, I think I didn't tell you anything about #Shinto, Japanese traditional religion,

I'm gonna share with you something about religion when I'm almost ready about it.

See you next time!

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