Water symbolizes purity in the Shinto religion and thus holds utmost importance as a method of religious purification. Additionally, scholars and worshippers recognize the role of torii as gateways to the kami, or deities of nature. However, there has not been a documented survey of the relationship between torii and their placement in water, a relationship we feel is significant in understanding Shintoism. We intend to bridge this gap in scholarship by displaying the prevalence of torii placed in or right next to water. We will explore torii from various parts of the world as well as different time periods in history. By looking at various torii that are located in water, such as the Itsukushima, Meoto Iwa, Oarai Ibaraki, Shirahige Jinja, and Astuta shrines, we hope to display a significant link between the placement of torii and water as the torii is leading to the highest purity in the spiritual world.
Imson, Hannah; Kahng, Amy; and Lekson, Victoria, "Torii and Water: A Gateway to Shinto" (2012). Pepperdine University, Featured Research. Paper 74.