Ever since old times, commercial areas appeared in Japan around the important shrines and temples, selling goods for pilgrims. These small fairs were often formed along the street in front of the temple, which in time became lined by shops, so they became known as monzenmachi, “town before the temple gates".
During the period of peace of the Edo period, pilgrimage became popular and the monzenmachi prospered. One of the largest of them, preserved until today, is in Higashiyama, Kyoto, located between Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizu-dera.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: