Got a cool Japan postcard from Canada! This is a really cool look at a Shinto shrine in Shinjuku, one of the wards of Tokyo. I visited Shinjuku during my 2015 Japan trip… my two greatest memories of it were the Robot Restaurant (tourist trap, but honestly well worth it) and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, which I gazed at for like two hours at night while lying on the ground (not very sanitary now that I think about it, but eh whatever). So a little bit about Shinto – Shinto is a religion originating from Japan that centers on the “kami”, which are spirits or energies connected with nature and the universe. Despite Shinto being considered to be polytheistic, the kami are not gods. It is said that the concept of kami is not easily explicable and rather ambiguous, so even the commonly-accepted English translation for kami falls short of conveying its complexity. In short, though, they are quite unlike other gods: they are not divine, infallible or omnipresent, and they live in the same world that humans live in. Anyway, Shinto is a local religion – people often have their own shrine that they visit to give offerings to the local kami. This here is a rooftop shrine, so it’s one of the smaller ones. The kami are enshrined in what’s called the honden, which is inaccessible to the public. I imagine this is the boxlike portion of the shrine here. The Haiden is the area that precedes it, which sometimes connects it with a heiden (okay that’s a lot of “H”-dens…), or a hall of offerings. This is much more compact than many other shrines. Oh, and on the right side you can see a bit of the shrine gate, or torii, which is one of the most identifiable marks of a shrine. I’m genuinely fascinated by the concepts underlying Shinto – I wish I could share more of what I researched but I have an unofficial line limit! Thank you so much for another amazing postcard!