Beyond the torii, surrounded by buildings, sit guardian dogs modeled after Japanese wolves

Torii of Miyamasu Mitake Shrine surrounded by buildings
Torii of Miyamasu Mitake Shrine surrounded by buildings
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As you walk up Miyamasuzaka slope from Shibuya Station, you will see a torii gate on your left. Located next to a multi-tenant building, the torii gate is so unassuming that one might pass by it in a hurry. The torii gate appeared in the middle of downtown Shibuya. Yes, it is a torii gate. The presence of a torii gate means that a Shinto shrine stands beyond it. This is the approach to Miyamasu Mitake Jinja Shrine.

As you pass through the torii gate, the approach becomes a stairway and rises higher step by step. It is as if the shrine grounds are being raised up against the buildings that surround the shrine, glaring at it. Unfortunately, it is difficult to compete with the surrounding buildings. To seriously compete with them, the shrine precincts would have to be turned into a skyscraper. The shrine is located at a height of about two stories above the ground, and the shrine pavilion sits just beyond the second shrine gate.

The shrine is located in a secluded area higher than the road, so the precincts of the shrine are quiet even though it is located in the downtown area. As I walked up to the front of the shrine building, I was greeted by komainu (guardian dogs). They were not as vigorous as the karashishi (Chinese lions), nor did they exude cuteness. It was strangely lifelike. This komainu were modeled after Japanese wolves. Although it is unusual to see a Japanese wolf as a guardian dog, it is common for shrines of mountain worship to enshrine Japanese wolves or use them as messengers of the gods. The right one, facing the shrine, has its mouth open, while the left one has its mouth closed.

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May 2022 ARCHITECTURE TOKYO
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PHOTO DATA

No

12278

Shooting Date

Mar 2022

Posted On

May 27, 2022

Place

Shibuya, Tokyo

Genre

Architectural Photography

Camera

SONY ALPHA 7R II

Lens

ZEISS LOXIA 2/35

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