{Shikoku Hachijūhachikasho Meguri}

--Temple Entrance Gates (Sanmon & Niōmon) and Stairs--

Niōmon and sanmon are the entrance gates to a temple compound. It is here, as you pass through the gate, that you pass from the secular world to the spiritual world. Your conduct should change accordingly. A niōmon is an entrance gate with statues inside of them. A sanmon is an entrance gate with no statues.

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  • The statues inside the niōmon are guardian deities that protect the temple compounds from crazy non-believers.
  • The large straw objects in front of, or inside, some sanmon are straw sandals, which help protect henro's feet, especially if you stick a coin or two on them.
  • Even in Buddhism some people believe you can buy your way into paradise. On Shikoku one way of doing this is to put coins on the temple steps as you climb up to the temple — one per step. The more you leave, the more lottery tickets you get.