From HandWiki
Three hokora on a country road

thumb|A small hokora in Kyoto. Though the hokora are usually categorized as Shintoist, they are often decorated with a swastika which in Japan is a symbol associated with Buddhism. In Kyoto especially, many hokora are actually dedicated to Kannon, a bodhisattva, rather than Shinto deities.A hokora or hokura (祠 or 神庫) is a miniature Shinto shrine either found on the precincts of a larger shrine and dedicated to folk kami, or on a street side, enshrining kami not under the jurisdiction of any large shrine.[1] Dōsojin, minor kami protecting travelers from evil spirits, can for example be enshrined in a hokora.[1]

The term hokora, believed to have been one of the first Japanese words for Shinto shrine, evolved from hokura (神庫), literally meaning "kami repository", a fact that seems to indicate that the first shrines were huts built to house some yorishiro. [note 1][2]

See also


  1. The word yorishiro (依り代) literally means approach substitute. Yorishiro were tools conceived to attract the kami and give them a physical space to occupy, thus making them accessible to human beings.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Encyclopedia of Shinto, Hokora. Accessed on December 14, 2009
  2. Tamura, Yoshiro (2000). "The Birth of the Japanese nation". Japanese Buddhism - A Cultural History (First ed.). Tokyo: Kosei Publishing Company. p. 232 pages. ISBN 4-333-01684-3.