The sandō at Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto
A sandō (参道 visiting path) in Japanese architecture is the road approaching either a Shinto shrine or a Buddhist temple.[1] Its point of origin is usually straddled in the first case by a Shinto torii, in the second by a Buddhist sanmon, gates which mark the beginning of the shrine's or temple territory. The word do is meant to mean both a path of the feet and a path of one's life's efforts. See, Karatedo. c.f. Taoism 道 There can also be stone lanterns and other decorations at any point along its course.

A sandō can be called a front sandō (表参道 omote-sandō), if it is the main entrance, or a rear sandō (裏参道 ura-sandō) if it is a secondary point of entrance, especially to the rear; side sandō (脇参道 waki-sandō) are also sometimes found. The famous Omotesandō district in Tokyo, for example, takes its name from the nearby main access path to Meiji Shrine where an ura-sandō also used to exist. [2]


See also

  • Shendao, a decorated road to a grave of an emperor or another dignitary in China


  1. ^ Iwanami Kōjien (広辞苑) Japanese dictionary, 6th Edition (2008), DVD version.
  2. ^ "Omotesandō ga aru nara, Urasandō mo aru no de wa" (in Japanese). Ameba News. Retrieved 4 December 2009.