Rural Uji’s Kiyotakigyuu Shrine
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Sort Of Hard To Pin Down if you're not familiar with how Shinto shrine roofs are built -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Sort Of Hard To Pin Down
if you're not familiar with how Shinto shrine roofs are built

In “Exquisite Beauty Growing Like a Weed by the Side of the Road” the other day, I noted that while driving through a sparsely-populated village deep in the mountains of Uji City south-east of Kyoto, we made a stop to check out a local shrine we happened upon. The shrine's entrance gate appeared in yesterday's “Scenes From Rural Japan: Mountain Village in Uji City” as well.

Going Up Entrance to the Kiyotakiguu Shrine middle-of-nowhere, Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/2000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Going Up
Entrance to the Kiyotakiguu Shrine
middle-of-nowhere, Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

The shrine has the name Kiyotakiguu (清瀧宮), and is just a small local shrine for the village, like any number of similarly unassuming local shrines and temples that have appeared on this blog (recent ones I can recall offhand include the Himuro shrine, Takanawa Temple, Juge Shrine, Ochiba Shrine, Hiyoshi Shrine, Nitenji Temple, Sokushouji Temple, and Toufuu Shrine).

These unassuming local places are quite different from the large famous shrines and temples like the Kongourinji Temple, Heian Shrine, Sanzen-in Temple, Yoshiminedera, Eikando Temple, Yoshida Shrine, and Nanzen Temple, but each has its own charms, and I enjoy checking them out, the more remote the better.

This one was a two-minutes walk up a winding set of stairs up the side of a mountain...

From The First Turn -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/640 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
From The First Turn

At the left you can see a small shed with blueish doors. Coming from the shed is a track that leads up to the shrine, for some kind of conveyor to bring heavy things up and down...

Heading Up On Its Own Path -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/800 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Up On Its Own Path

The track is, of course, the answer to the “Bumpy-on-the-Bottom What-am-I? Quiz” from the other day.

Climbing -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Climbing
desktop background image of tall trees in a forest -- Impressive Height -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Impressive Height
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Halfway Up -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Halfway Up
Approaching the Top -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Approaching the Top
End of the Line -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/100 sec, f/16, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
End of the Line
End of the Line ( but at f/2.5 this time ) -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
End of the Line
( but at f/2.5 this time )

Once you get up there, you find a small compound with minor buildings on three sides and the main shrine building a bit further up a rise on the fourth side....

Shrine Compound -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Shrine Compound
Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/2.2, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos

Before heading up the stairs to the main shrine, you come across the water basin for ritual purification...

desktop background image of the water basin at the Kiyotakiguu Shrine in Uji City, Japan -- Basin -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Basin
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The fence/walls separating the main building from the rest of the compound were interesting, made of wood framing supported by angled stone buttresses, and topped with what must have been a very heavy tile roof....

desktop background image of a wood/stone/tile wall at the Kiyotakiguu Shrine in Uji City, Japan -- Sturdy(?) Wall -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/4, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Sturdy(?) Wall
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Support? -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/2.2, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Support?

I had the impression that stone was not known for its sheer strength, and I'd worry that these relatively-thin columns would snap off in a sharp earthquake, rather than support the wall as they seem designed to do. I dunno.

The wall's roof tiles were held secure by wire...

Wired In -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Wired In
Other Side -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/800 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Other Side
Other Side's Roof Endcap ( I'm sure there's a better word then “endcap”, but I don't know it ) -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Other Side's Roof Endcap
( I'm sure there's a better word then “endcap”, but I don't know it )

Update: Fr. Graham McDonnell (seen here), who has been a priest in Kyoto for 50-something years, tells me that this is called a kamon-iri onigawara (家紋入鬼瓦), which I figure literally means “gargoyle with a family crest”. Frankly, this doesn't do anything to help me figure out what to call it in English, but it's good to know the proper term in Japanese.

As is common with many local shrines, the shrine building itself was quite small, perhaps just one small room, though we couldn't tell for sure because it was closed up when we visited (but that didn't thwart an extremely active population of bees coming and going in great numbers. The inside was probably filled with honey.)

Also common with local shrines, the shrine building itself was protected under an enclosing roof. In the shot below, Paul Barr stands under the roof of the shrine, while just behind him the support for the protective structure rises up and out of frame...

Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos

The protective structure itself was in questionable shape...

Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos

I suspect that local shrines have these protective structures because they're cheaper than replacing the heavily-shingled roof. A rich and famous shrine can afford to replace the roofs from time to time (such as this one), but I suspect it's much more a challenge for a small local place.

But that's just a guess. I'm not sure what to make of this shrine's roof... it looks like it's had some recent repairs...

desktop background image of the layers in the roof of the Kiyotakiguu Shrine, Uji City, Japan -- Shrine-Roof Layers -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Shrine-Roof Layers
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But one area seemed at the same time both new and old without any particular divide...

Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos

... while just a bit further up the roof it looked very old...

Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Railing Detail -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Railing Detail

One of the other buildings in the compound had an old lock on the door...

Old(?) Lock -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Old(?) Lock
Bull Dog -- Kiyotakigu (清瀧宮) -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/4, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos
Bull Dog

It looks quite old, but they're still for sale, so maybe it's just well weathered.

By the way, since I've answered the one What am I? quiz above, I may as well answer another: the “One Last Towel-Museum What-am-I? Quiz” from two weeks ago is the view looking down through a stack of wire shopping baskets, exactly as the first commenter guessed...

Stack of Wire Baskets -- Towel Museum -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Stack of Wire Baskets

Posts from the Uji trip are continued here...


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

Hi Jeffrey, this was pretty neat to see. I’m a bit curious about the shrines, though. I’m under the impression that in modern-day Japan people use them as more of a cultural site than a religious one. How are these places maintained? Money-wise they accept donations, but that doesn’t seem like it would be enough to keep them running (particularly the smaller ones). Does the government fund them as historical sites? And as far as staffing goes, the shrines are supposed to have a priest/priestess (or multiple) who maintains the grounds, right? But in modern times, who aspires to such a position? Do they still have priests maintaining the shrines and their grounds, or has it become a community (or government) effort?

Or am I underestimating the popularity of Shintoism and Buddhism (not grouped together, but in consideration of their temples) in modern-day Japan?

My understanding is imperfect and perhaps wrong, but but it’s a very vague line between “cultural” and “religious” for many Japanese, one that varies depending on the context. Even on the cultural side, I’d expect many Japanese would still financially support a local shrine or temple. Most (all?) are privately owned, and since they are not taxed (just as religious are not taxed in the US), it can be quite lucrative to be a Buddhist monk or Shinto priest, at least in an area with a large enough population. Visiting the larger popular places, you often see very high-end cars parked in the private parking lot. Smaller places are often owned by a family, passed down from generation to generation, so a son might follow in his father’s footsteps. A community place like in today’s post may well be owned by a community group, but I don’t know. There was no place for a resident priest to live, so perhaps there had not ever been one. The very tiny shrine near my place that closed down a few years ago had no buildings at all… just an altar(?) on a tiny wedge of land. The family that had supported it used to be large generations ago, but had dwindled in the area to one small house, and they just couldn’t support it any more. The priest that came to officiate the closing rite came from the nearby huge Heian Shrine, I think. —Jeffrey

— comment by David K on June 8th, 2011 at 2:42am JST (6 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I like the dreamlike/psychedelic quality of “Heading Up On Its Own Path” from the foreground bokeh.

And, I think people in Japan, especially rural Japan, still do a lot to support their local shrine/temple. It’s about community and continuity as much as anything else, I think.

— comment by Zak on June 8th, 2011 at 5:48pm JST (6 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Beautifull!!! your photograph is so beautifull!

— comment by Alex on June 9th, 2011 at 9:04am JST (6 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink
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