The Shinto religion is strongly connected to nature, so plants and animals have a very important role, some of them being considered connected to the kami Shinto gods. Pairs of statues representing real or mythical animals are always found installed in front of the shrine, as guardians against evil spirits.
An interesting and unusual example can be found in Kyoto, at the Okazaki Jinja, shrine dedicated to two kami, Susanoo-no-Mikoto and Kushinada-hime, gods of marriage and easy childbirth. The guardians of the shrine are rabbits, selected because of their well known ability to produce many descendants…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: