Toya Manabu
  • Toya Manabu 
  • By this author: 14 Latest posted: 2017.01.06
Writer and Shintō priest. Born in Saitama Prefecture. Graduated from the Department of Shintō Studies at Kokugakuin University. Author of Shintō nyūmon (Introduction to Shintō), Fuji-san, 2200-nen no himitsu (Mount Fuji’s 2,200-year Secrets), and other works.
Shintō’s Sacred Forests and Japanese Environmentalism2017.01.06

Toya Manabu explores the historical and spiritual connections between Shintō shrines, the sacred forests that surround them, and environmentalism in Japan.

Nature Worship in Old Shintō2017.01.04

Before Shintō came to be practiced in constructed shrines, it was centered on the direct worship of nature itself. Toya Manabu surveys the various objects of worship that formed the original focus of Shintō belief.

“Shōzoku”: The Shintō Vestments2016.09.05

The clothing worn by priests and priestesses at Shintō shrines is unlike anything you will see elsewhere in Japan. Here we describe the styles of traditional vestments that are part of the Shintō experience.

“Shamusho”: The Shrine Office2016.08.29

When not engaging in religious rites, priests and shrine personnel may rest in the shamusho, or shrine office. Here visitors can also obtain talismans to protect their homes and selves with the blessing of the shrine’s kami.

“Shintai, Shinboku”: The Divine Object or Tree2016.08.22

At the heart of the shrine, never viewed by visitors, is the shintai, the “divine body” of the kami. At some shrines this is an object, like a jewel or sword; at others, it is a natural feature like a mountain or shinboku, a divine tree.

“Honden”: The Main Sanctuary Structure2016.08.18

The structure called the honden is the heart of the Shintō facility, where its kami is enshrined. Observing the details of honden architecture can tell the visitor much about the nature of the shrine and its deity.

“Tamagaki”: Fence Around the Sacred Space2016.08.09

A fence called the tamagaki encloses the shrine's innermost sanctum, setting it off from the outside world and marking a border between the sacred and the profane. Some shrines feature more than one tamagaki, which in its earliest form was a living hedge surrounded by a brushwood fence.

“Haiden”: The Hall of Worship2016.08.02

At last we come to the haiden, where visitors pray or pay their respects to the kami, or gods of the shrine. Here worshippers put money into the donation box, ring the bell, and perform the prayer ritual described in this article.

“Komainu”: The Shrine’s Guardian Figures2016.07.25

Stone statues called komainu depicting shishi, "lion-dogs," stand at either side of the entrance to the shrine or the haiden worship hall. These fierce guardians are meant to protect the shrine from evil.

“Temizuya”: The Cleansing Ritual2016.07.19

The temizuya at the entrance to the shrine's innermost grounds is a place to purify the body before entering. Here worshippers wash their hands and mouth with the cool, flowing water in an act of ritual purification.

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