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shinagawa temple torii gate

Posted by
timothy sullivan (Tokyo, Japan) on 6 April 2008 in Cityscape & Urban.

quiet little place near kitashinagawa station; this temple lies on one of the tokyo temple pilgrimage walking trails that roughly follow the line of the old edo highway (the old, old road connecting Edo (current Tokyo) with Kyoto).

two nifty things i'd found out.
first: Tokyo's kanji (Japanese representation) is: 東京(都). kyoto's kanji is 京都(府). a long time ago, someone told me that the reason tokyo's kanji and kyoto's look alike has to do with history-- with tokyo's becoming the capital of japan. you see, the kanji "東" means "east"-- so, with a little simplification, "tokyo city" roughly means "eastern kyoto".

second,this gate structure marks the entrance to a shinto shrine; the shape is also quite symbolic. consider the kanji 天, which means "heaven"-- apparently, the shape of the torii gate is meant to be the same as that kanji; that is, when you pass through the torii gates, you are entering a spiritual realm.

ah, symbols in Japanese culture are so amazing...