This is a series of posts describing the many varieties of Japanese gate, or mon (門). If you look at the preceding kanji more closely, you can think of it as a picture of a pair of swinging doors, reminiscent of saloon doors in a wild west movie. I thought that it would be a nice idea to bring more awareness to a western audience as to the tremendous diversity in forms and types of Japanese gates. This series intends to be a gateway to gates.
Previous posts in this series:
Also referred to a ekimon (腋門). A flanking, or side gate. This is a smaller gate found to one or both sides of a main gate (not necessarily adjacent to the main gate however) and generally used as a service entrance.
Here is one of the fancier versions you’re likely to find, at Nikkō:
A closer look at the gable end, which is of the cusped gable, or kara hafu form:
Castles also had these sort of gates. We’ve already seen previosuly the uzumimon type, which can be filled in with rocks in case of attack. Here’s a side gate at Shuri Castle (首里城) in Okinawa:
Most of this castle was destroyed in 1945, so the gate and other structures you see now are modern rebuilds:
The other side:
This type of gate is also common at shrines – here at Sata-ten-jingū (佐太天神宮) in Osaka:
At Anchōji (安長寺) in Fukuoka, a small temple, we see the modest sanmon, and to the left we can glimpse the wakimon:
A look at the simple wakimon from another angle:
Modern wakimon usually are built to allow vehicle traffic.
One last example, at Daitsuji (大通寺) in Shiga Prefecture:
Short and sweet for today. The series continues, and I hope you’ll return to check out future installments. On to post 19.