One of the biggest things that draws me to Japan is how the Japanese embrace their rich history while leading the world in many technological advancements. This is perfectly illustrated by a traditional torii (vermilion gate) on a road leading to the World Heritage Shimogamo Shrine, with 4 vending machines standing conveniently to one side.

Torii on the road to Shimogamo Shrine

Torii and Vending Machines enroute to Shimogamo-jinja in Kyoto
DMC-LX3 (5.1mm, f/4, 1/500 sec, ISO125)
Torii and vending machines near Shimogamo Shrine

Torii 「鳥居」 translates literally to “bird’s perch” and is a feature common to all Japanese Shinto Buddhist Shrines. These archways or gates mark the entrance to a shrine. It is good etiquette to bow before entering the shrine. If you stop a minute at a torii, you’ll notice people will pause and bow before passing through the gate.

This torii is at a fork in the Shimogamo Higashi Dori 「下鴨東通 Shimogamo East Road」. I accessed this road after exiting Demachiyanagi Station and crossing the river toward the shrine by bridge. Shimogamo Shrine is just a short walk from the station.

Shimogamo Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Kyōto, is also an easy walk from the Kyoto Imperial Palace.

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View this location – Map coordinates: 35.032,135.772.

This photo is from my visit to the shrine in 2011. Being a world heritage shrine, the shrine will be preserved for hundreds of years into the future.

For details about the shrine, including lots of photos, the buildings, how to get there, visiting hours and festivals, see the article: Shimogamo-jinja/下鴨神社 in Kyoto (Info and 20+ Photos).