Sando (an approach to a shrine or temple) (参道)

Sando is the road used for visiting a shrine or temple.


Since monzen-machi (literally, a town in front of a gate) developed spontaneously around a powerful shrine or temple and are considered as a set with the sando road, the area considered to be 'sando' depends on the customs of the each area.

In the strict definition, a sando indicates only the passage within the grounds defined by a torii (an archway to a Shinto shrine) or a sanmon gate (a temple gate). However, in a broader sense, it means the road from a busy street to the nearby shrine or temple. There are many shrines or temples that have more than one sando. In such case, the main sando is often called omote sando (for example, the 'omote sando' near Meiji-jingu Shrine in Tokyo is the main sando for Meiji-jingu shrine and connects the Yagurazawa-okan road, present-day National Route 246 and Meiji-jingu shrine, and is also established as a geographical name).

In addition, roads have often been redirected towards a shrine or temple for pilgrimages and the bent portions of these roads are sometimes also called 'sando' (for example, Kogane-shuku (a geographical name): the Mito-kaido road has been redirected to make it convenient to visit Hondo-ji Temple).

[Original Japanese]