First gate to walk past.
Torii. A traditional Japanese gate serving as the entrance to a Shinto shrine or any Japanese Buddhist temples. For the Japanese, it represents the transition from the profane to the sacred.
Torii. Leading to several steps that lead up to the shrine complex.
Purification fountain. The easiest way to "purify" before praying, is to take a ladle, fill it with water, and rinse both hands. Then pour some water into a cupped hand and rinse your mouth, then spit the water on the ground beside the fountain.
Suwa Shrine in Kobe, Japan.
Offering hall. The ritual to undertake for a prayer at a shrine, goes as follows: throw a coin into the offering box. Bow deeply twice. Clap your hands twice. Bow deeply again. Then pray for a little while (15-30 seconds.) If there is a gong (and there usually is at the top of the thick rope) swing the rope to make the gong sound, as this is the way to get the full attention of Kami (god.) Then pray.
One of the guardians meant to ward off evil spirits. These can take a couple of forms (lion-dog or a foxlike creature.)
Fox wearing a red votive bib with a sutra roll (Buddhist text) in its mouth.
Another foxlike guardian. They are thought to have magical powers.
View of Kobe from atop the Suwa Shrine complex. Cherry blossoms are in bloom.
Another shrine in Suwayama Park.
Torii. Leaving the sacred behind and once again entering the "profane."