At some special occassions, we often visit a shrine for praying. It's now at the end of the year ( also some say it's ending of the mankind by Maya's words). I went to a shrine today.
Japanese shrines have a gate with specially impressive form, which is called TORII. Going through the torii gate, we can reach to the main building of the shrines. This photo's torii gate is small one, also the shrine is small. At famous places like Kyoto, Nara, Tokyo or more places, big shrines' torii gate is really huge.
There are several meaning of this torii gate as far as I know. One of them, what I especially support it to be true, is that this is named because the watchers of the shrines stay on the top of the gates, and they keep their eyes on the people passing through it.
Tori means birds, and i means stay in Japanese. Torii so means that where the bird stays. Keeper of the shrine or Japanese shinto is believed to be crows, or the birds. So this gate is where the crows stays on to keep shrines safe from evildoers.
Old shrines always have very old trees as you see in the photo. Also besides the main building, there usually are very old and very tall trees, which are believed to be God Trees.
I become really holy in mind and it's nice to wipe something wicked ingering on me off my body and spirit. This is what I do when my sacred time comes.