“Sacred Vermilion” : Miyajima, Japan, 22nd January 2011
Japan’s unusual religious system comprises the native Shinto and the imported Buddhism with its myriad flavours.
The Japanese are not a deeply religious folk, however, and for many the Shinto shrine will only be visited on New Year’s Day to throw a few coins into a trough, ring a bell and grab a quick fortune-telling paper.
Buddhism only comes into the picture for funerals.
A quick and easy way to tell the difference between a Shinto shrine and a Buddhist temple is to look for vermilion: if great swathes of the buildings and gates are in this orangey-red hue, then it’s going to be the former.
However, I’ve just remembered that many temples also include shrines within their precincts, just to complicate things
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