Here's another image from my 6th visit to the Higishiyama Hanatouro this one was also taken at Shorenin (pronounced "Sho-ren-in"). Inside the grounds of the Buddhist Temple there is a little Shinto Shrine set in a bamboo grove. In Japan it's not uncommon to find small Shinto Shrines inside of Buddhist Temples, but I can't recall seeing it the other way around (i.e. a small Buddhist Temple inside a large Shinto Shrine). Also many people in Japan state their religion as both Buddhism and Shinto.
Shinto is a religion indigenous to Japan and existed here before Buddhism arrived from China. When Buddhism arrived the many gods of Shinto were simply added into the Buddhist pantheon. There have been times in history when certain rulers have enforced a strict separation between the two religions. Even at times some rulers have tried to rid Japan of Buddhism and return to pure Shinto. Now-a-days many people are blessed at Shinto shrines as children, married in a "Christian"* ceremony in a hotel's wedding chapel, have a Buddhist funeral and yet profess to be agnostic!
Syncretism, Tolerance, Indifference or Ignorance? Well actually I think it's a combination of all four in peoples attitudes here that causes the religious mix.
* Often the pastor/priest is just an actor employed by the hotel or wedding company, but in Japan people actually get officially married at their local city/town/village/ward office before the ceremony.
This photo was shot as a RAW (.NRW file) and post processed in DxO Optics Pro then exported to the Gimp for the finishing touches.
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