There are countless temples and shrines in Japan, especially in Kyoto. While temples are for Buddhists, shrines are the worship places for Japanese traditional Shinto (神道教).
Shinto Shrines are marked by its symbolical gate, Torii (鸟居). The most famous, also the most photographed, shrine is Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) in Kyoto. Because Inari is a god of business, companies and individuals built thousands of Toriis dedicated to Inari. These thousands of gates in red color lines up one after another along the trails from the bottom to the top of the mountain. The scenery is really one of kind. There is no one single god in Shinto, anything in nature can be worshiped. Shrines normally have a small pool in front of their gate. People must wash their hands and mouth before entering the shrine.
A lot of temples and shrines look very new because the paint seems to be applied recently. At first, I felt the new paints were conflicting with the ancient building style. I later learnt that rebuilding temples and shrines is a tradition in preserving their sacrality.
Meiji Shrine (明治神宫，东京)
The shrine in the raining day is more peaceful and divine.
Higashi Honganji Temple (東本願寺，京都)
Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社，京都)
Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺，京都)
Yasaka Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple and the shopping district in between are popular tourist attractions. It’s golden week in Japan. People are everywhere.
Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社)
Two railway stops south of Kyoto Station. I got there before 7AM at morning to avoid the crowd.
Kinkaku-ji Temple (金閣寺)
Another popular tourist attraction. Too many people to have a place to take pictures.
Ryoan-ji Temple (竜安寺)
The temple was almost closed when we got there. I had no time to appreciate the “ultimate expression of Zen Buddhism”.