We’ve talked before about significance of shrines and temples in Japan, but years of experience in Japan has given us the privilege of looking at some of the flourishes temples showcase allowing us to enjoy shrine & temple aesthetics while on Japan photo tours.
With enough years experience taking photographs and conducting tours throughout the islands of Japan, the Japan Dreamscapes (JDS) workshop leaders have perspective and notice the smaller elements.
One particularly photogenic element is torii, or gates. What do they symbolize? They are essentially markers, telling the visitors that they have left the mundane world of their daily lives and have no entered into a sacred place that is deserving of respect and reverence. As with many Japan photo tour elements, the torii has a rich history. The first was erected in the mid-Heian period some time close to the year 922, as that is when gates were first mentioned in a written text in Japan. Their composition is almost always either of stone or wood, and there are gates that date back almost 1,000 years still standing as markers to shrines and rare photo ops in Japan.
Another amazing photo op for visitors to shrines and temples in Japans is shimenawas, or enclosing rope. Constructed of rice star or hemp, it is a key element in Shinto religious practice. They adorn the main entrances of shrines as a ward against evil spirits. The shimenawa, like other elements of temples, vary from location to location, but your JDS photography workshop guide can introduce you and your camera to the most remarkable specimens of the enclosing ropes for your to enjoy on your photo tour. For example, at one of the most ancient shrines in Japan, the Izumo Taisha, is home to the grandest shimenawa in all of Japan. It is 13.5 meters long and weighs over 5 tons. This is a must see for anyone looking for rare elements of Japanese culture during a photo tour.