Why the Torii Gate of Shinto Shrines Has a Red Color
The other day, I wrote about the type of Japanese shrines. As I mentioned in the article, there are six types of Shinto shrines in Japan, and the most common is the one called Jinja (神社).
Since there are over 80,000 Shinto shrines around the country, each city in Japan has some shrines, mostly Jinja.
Therefore, if you plan to visit somewhere here, you can find Shinto shrines in the city without much effort, so let’s drop in. You can enter the precincts of almost any shrine for free.
Before you go into the precincts, one or some or hundreds of gates will welcome you.
We generally call the gate of the Shinto shrine Torii (鳥居), and passing the gateway to the precincts means entering the sacred territory.
Meaning of the Red Color
If you visit a dozen Shinto shrines, you will notice that many of the Torii gates have a red color.
In ancient Japan, red stood for the dynamics of life, and people believed that the color could drive away evil spirits. So it was used in sanctuaries.
Influenced by that, many of the present Torii gates are now red.
Inari-Fushimi Taisha (稲荷伏見大社) in Kyoto
By the way, of all Shinto shrines, Inari-Fushimi Taisha (稲荷伏見大社), located in Kyoto, has the most Torii gates, amazingly about 10,000 Torii!
According to the official site of the shrine, the red color of its Torii gates represents plenty of power of the god Inari Ookami (稲荷大神) or Oinari Sama (お稲荷様).
Address: 68 Fukakusa-Yabunouchi-Cho, Fushimi-Ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture (Google Maps)