Torii Tips

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

Just some funny facts of Torii (Gates to the sacred space)

① Many scholars believe that Torii is not originated in Japan, it maybe an imported tradition. Because the similar architecture can be found in some other asian countries for example, Thai(Sao Ching Cha)

Korea(hongsal-mun), China(Paifang) , Taiwan(Paifang) , India(Torana), etc.

② The literal meaning of Torii is bird perch, But there's almost no bird takes rest on that.

③ It's said that the name of Torii derives from the Japanese word, tōri-iru 通りいる,

so it has no connections with bird.

④ The bird stands for death in Japanese traditional literatures.

⑤ There are many varietions of Torii,

basically it can be categorized into 2 families, shinmeifamily(神明系)and themyōjinfamily(明神系), what's difference is the Torii of the first have only straight parts, the second have both straight and curved parts.

And maybe a exception,chūren torii(注連鳥居), that can not be classified as neither of them. Itconsists of two posts with a sacred rope called shimenawa tied between them.

chūren torii 注連鳥居

Kashima Torii 鹿島鳥居

Hachiman torii 八幡鳥居

Nakayama torii 中山鳥居

Daiwa Torii 大和鳥居

Ryobu Torii 両部鳥居

Torana India

Sao Ching Cha Thailand

Hongsal-mun South Korea

Paifang China

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