A sandō(参道,visiting path?) in Japanese architecture is the road approaching either a Shinto shrine or a Buddhist temple. Its point of origin is usually straddled in the first case by a Shinto torii, in the second by a Buddhist sanmon, gates which mark the beginning of the shrine's or temple territory. The word dō(道?) can refer both to a path or road, and to the path of one's life's efforts. See, Karatedo. c.f. Taoism 道 There can also be stone lanterns and other decorations at any point along its course.
A sandō can be called a front sandō (表参道,omote-sandō?), if it is the main entrance, or a rear sandō (裏参道,ura-sandō?) if it is a secondary point of entrance, especially to the rear; side sandō (脇参道,waki-sandō?) are also sometimes found. The famous Omotesandō district in Tokyo, for example, takes its name from the nearby main access path to Meiji Shrine where an ura-sandō also used to exist.