Grand Shinto Symbols

Outstanding torii, sacred trees and shimenawa in famous shrines

By Elena Lisina    - 2 min read

There are thousands of Shinto shrines all over Japan from very small to grand ones. Shinto shrines can be recognized by the same symbols, but some of them can be quite outstanding.

Torii are the gates to the sacred places of the Shinto gods ‘kami’. Torii tend to be rather large in comparison with humans and their number varies. The famous torii standing in water belongs to Itsukushima Shrine of Miyajima Island. The size of the torii is particularly evident in comparison with people during low tide. It’s really grand! Another place with impressive torii is Fushimi Inari Taisha with about 5000 torii on the way to the top of Inari Mountain.

Shinto objects of worship include sacred trees some of which are older than 1000 years. The famous Jakushin-san no Kyushu sacred tree is about 800 years old and measures 17 metres around! Sacred trees are marked with a straw braid called a 'shimenawa’. One of the grandest shimenawa belongs to Suwa Taisha, but the biggest one belongs to Izumo Taisha. Shimenawa is also placed on ancient sacred stones of the shrines.

Some shrines such as Meiji Jingu of Tokyo excel through their space, and some feature special places such as the sumo ring of Suwa Taisha. And, of course, the most grand of symbols is Mt. Fuji, serviced by Fuji-san Hongu Sengen Taisha!

Was this article helpful?

Suggest an edit

Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo!