The pair of statues found at most Shinto shrines are Koma-inu guardians, protecting the entrance to the sacred space. One of their symbolic meanings is that the Koma-inu with the open mouth has the role of frightening evil spirits and the one with the mouth closed keeps the good spirits inside.
This strange looking building shaped like an open mouth Koma-inu, belonging to the Yasaka Shrine in Namba, Osaka, is said to “extract” and swallow the negative energies, thus purifying the worshipers. It is an emaden, a hall where it is kept a collection of ema votive plaques, with a stage for Shinto ritual dances.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: