Of course, I kid. I have never come across a boring Shinto Shrine in Japan nor have I ever made a spelling mistake! But whilst in Kyoto in 2016 I did come across a Shrine was that dedicated to the boar. Yes of all things. Another reason why we love the Japanese. So why am I bringing up this topic now after almost two years since I was actually last in Kyoto? I was looking through my unedited catalogue of images from that trip and came across a whole stack of images from this little Shinto Shrine. It does not appear that I actually edited or published any photos from that visit in colour. They are all black and white. So as I have done on numerous occasions before, I decided to take another look and have a crack at editing and publishing some of those shots.
I remember the morning I came across this shrine quite well. I had gotten up super early as I intended to get to the Kyoto Imperial Palace before any other people starting showing up. I wanted to achieve this as the Imperial Palace is surrounded by huge grounds with wide and long thoroughfares surrounding every wall of the palace grounds. My idea was to be able to capture wide-angle shots of those areas with no other people in them. Or perhaps just one person to add scale and drama. You can check out some of the black and white images of the Kyoto Imperial Palace here. And the other thing I remember on this day is the humidity. Despite it being first thing in the morning, it was hot, sunny and so incredibly humid. I was dripping with sweat before I even got off the first train.
After touring the grounds and getting the shots that I wanted, I headed for the street and the subway entrance. The area was very quiet and there were hardly any pedestrians or traffic. It was quiet too aside from the calling of Japanese crows. And after rows and rows or hotels I came across the shrine. I almost walked past it. But I took the time and looked around the deserted shrine and gardens. It was not a large shrine by Kyoto standards but it was unique. The whole shrine was dedicated to the boar. There were beautifully carved statues of boars everywhere. There were glass display cases showing all manner of boar statues, models and even plates with boars painted on them. It was really fascinating. And then, of course, there is the amazing level of detail and craftsmanship that goes into the Shrine structures and surrounding buildings. Incredible.
And this was a really interesting thing about Kyoto. Yes, there are shrines everywhere. But often the shrines will be behind high walls or nestled in between other taller buildings. And there will just be a small entranceway to gain access to the interior grounds. I found such entranceways in the middle of shopping streets all throughout Kyoto. They would just pop up. I hope that you have enjoyed this short read and collection of images. In case you are wondering where this shrine may be, I will leave a map below and it is outside the Western border of the Palace grounds. All o the images from this blog were shot on the Fujifilm X-T1 with the XF23mmF1.4 and the XF50-140mmF2.8. Happy shooting.