What can you tell me about the various statues at temples and shrines?
Sculpture and funeral rites are the forte of Buddhist temples. Sacred incantations, talismans, christenings and weddings are the specialties of Shintō shrines. Shintō shrines have little to see in the way of statuary. If your goal is to see statuary, please visit Buddhist temples. Shrines have more things to do -- like having your fortune told, watching pacification rites to expel evil spirits, or attending baptisms and weddings -- but statuary is not their forte. Lovers of statuary should therefore visit Buddhist temples and not Shinto shrines. Shintō sites associated with the imperial family typically enshrine three items (not normally displayed to the public) -- a sacred mirror, sword, and jewel. These three are known as the Imperial Regalia of Japan 三種の神器 (Sanshu no Jingi), also translated as the Three Sacred Treasures. To learn more about Shrines, see onmarkproductions.com/html/shrine-guide.shtml.