Fire and water, Shinto style

Mt Kifune and Mt Kurama sit next to each other to the north of Kyoto. Located on their slopes are two remarkable Shinto shrines dedicated to water and fire respectively. I was fortunate to be able to visit them both last week. All you need to do is climb over Mt Kurama! Although steep in parts, the mixed deciduous-conifer forest you walk through makes it worthwhile. You also get to see the impressive Kurama Buddhist Temple complex that lies between the two Shrines.

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Water, water (and rice seedlings) everywhere……

Water is an element you may naturally associate with Japan. The very long coast-line (Japan has over over 6,000 islands), the Shinto rituals associated with purification with water, and the damaging effects of tsunamis come to mind.

The planting of rice was not on my list until my current travels in Japan in May 2014. Water is everywhere as the fields are prepared for the next rice crop.

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Fire and water: complementary and opposite

This striking image of fire and water by Martin Hill comes from his exhibition ‘Watershed‘, held at Mossgreen Galleries in Melbourne in April 2014. Fire and water are often paired as elements. Described as both complementary and opposite, they sit well with the concept of duality that underpins many philosophies.

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