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Title: Hokora  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Shinto architecture, Hirairi, Haiden (Shinto), Ishi-no-ma-zukuri, Sandō
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Three hokora on a country road
A small hokora in Kyoto. Though the hokora are usually categorized as Shintoist, they are often decorated with a swastika which in Japan is a symbol associated with Buddhism. In Kyoto especially, many hokora are actually dedicated to Kannon, a bodhisattva, rather than Shinto deities.
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]

See also


  1. ^ The word yorishiro (依り代) literally means approach substitute. Yorishiro were tools conceived to attract the kami and give them a physical space to occupy, thus making them accessible to human beings.


  1. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Shinto, Hokora. Accessed on December 14, 2009
  2. ^
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