Visiting the Shinto shrines in Japan, you will notice the different styles of architecture, with characteristics such as facade or roof elements. One particularly distinctive element is chigi, the roof termination shaped like an X.
Originally, the chigi was just a structural element, but in time it became a symbol of the building’s sacredness. Made simply from wood or decorated with metal, they are always built in pairs, on both sides of the roof, as you can see in this photo taken at the Washinomiya Shrine in Saitama.
In this photo you can also see another roof element specific to Shinto shrines, katsuogi, the beams fitted perpendicularly to the roof ridge. An interesting fact is that the number of katsuogi varies depending on the kami enshrined. For a male kami the number is odd, while for a female kami the number is even…
Washinomiya Shrine, Saitama
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: Old Samurai House