Anywhere you go in Japan, you find temples/shrines. I’d say that most of them are very alike, but I like the style, the architecture and the peaceful feeling that all of this produces.
Inner peace inner peace inner peace!
The funny thing, if I may say, about temples/shrines in cities is that they just appear out of nowhere. You’re walking among people and bright shops, looking for some cheap yummy food or any 100円 shop to expand your utensils collection, when suddenly ZAM! It’s there! A beautiful old religious masterpiece built from scratch with 3 pebbles and a bamboo!
I’ve noticed that there rarely is only one building, but several. And not next to each other but separate. I don’t know what each is used for, some are to pray (where you can toss a coin [and ring a bell], which would supposedly help granting your wishes). As long as it’s beautiful and satisfies my eyes, that’s fine.
You can find sculptures or statues representing someone or something (an animal, a demon, someone…) with at their bottom inscriptions (in Japanese). Of what? I don’t know, names perhaps?
Torii (鳥居), commonly called “torii gate” in English.
You find different kinds of torii: some are made from stone/cement/granite, others from wood and even metal. The metal and wooden ones are usually painted in vermilion [red] (with black “feet” or base, depending on the size), whereas the grey ones (the 1st category) are most of the time left as is. The red ones you can see in those photos are made of metal, which I guess is less costly and time consuming (I find wooden torii being real pieces of Art). Shapes also vary: you can see that the top can be circle or cubic-shaped. I personally prefer the latter 🙂
There are some famous torii in Japan such as the one in Miyajima (Hiroshima).
You can read all you need to know and more on Wikipedia