A Story about ‘Torii’ (A gateway at the entrance to a Shinto shrine)

As you can see, almost all shrines in Japan have a torii at the entrances, which has various meanings behind it.  A Shinto shrine is the sacred place where the Japanese God resides.

The ‘Torii’ represents a boundary that divides the Gods’ place and our human world.


When we visit the shrine, we pass through the torii.  The middle of the entrance path is said to be the way the Gods pass, it’s a courtesy that we pass through the side way.

It’s also an important courtesy that we bow toward the shrine, before we pass through the torii.

Just like one of the Japanese customs of the greeting, which we say “Ojama-shimasu” (Excuse me for disturbing you) when entering someone’s home, we should keep our courtesy to the Gods as well.


A Torii is primarily made out of wood, stone and copperplates; some are currently made out of concrete as well.

There are various kinds of torii as well as different sizes, throughout Japan.

Next time you visit shines in Japan, you should enjoy seeing the unique torii too!

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