Hokora Shrines
A hokora or hokura (祠 or 神庫) is a miniature Shinto shrine either found on the precincts of a larger shrine and dedicated to folk kami, or on a street side, enshrining kami not under the jurisdiction of any large shrine.[1] Dōsojin, minor kami protecting travelers from evil spirits, can for example be enshrined in a hokora.[1]

The term hokora, believed to have been one of the first Japanese words for Shinto shrine, evolved from hokura (神庫), literally meaning "kami repository", a fact that seems to indicate that the first shrines were huts built to house some yorishiro. [note 1][2]

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Kami (Japanese: 神, [kaꜜmi]) are the spirits or phenomena that are worshiped in the religion of Shinto. They can be elements of the landscape, forces of nature, as well as beings and the qualities that these beings express; they can also be the spirits of venerated dead persons. Many kami are considered the ancient ancestors of entire clans (some ancestors became kami upon their death if they were able to embody the values and virtues of kami in life). Traditionally, great or sensational leaders like the Emperor could be or became kami.[1]

In Shinto, kami are not separate from nature, but are of nature, possessing positive and negative, and good and evil characteristics. They are manifestations of musubi (結び),[2] the interconnecting energy of the universe, and are considered exemplary of what humanity should strive towards. Kami are believed to be "hidden" from this world, and inhabit a complementary existence that mirrors our own: shinkai (神界, "the world of the kami").[3]:22 To be in harmony with the awe-inspiring aspects of nature is to be conscious of kannagara no michi (随神の道 or 惟神の道, "the way of the kami").[2]
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