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The sandō at Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto

A sandō (参道, visiting path) in Japanese architecture is the road approaching either a Shinto shrine or a Buddhist temple.[1] 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 () can refer both to a path or road, and to the path of one's life's efforts.[2] 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. [3]


See also



  1. ^ Iwanami Kōjien (広辞苑) Japanese dictionary, 6th Edition (2008), DVD version.
  2. ^ See, Karatedo. c.f. Taoism 道
  3. ^ "Omotesandō ga aru nara, Urasandō mo aru no de wa" (in Japanese). Ameba News. Archived from the original on July 19, 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2009.