All significant axes in a Shinto site are framed by "torii"
gates, simple post and beam structures that lightly demarcate outer from
inner, sacred from profane. At Ise, sequential torii gates puntuate the
viewer's gradual approach, beginning with this grand proscenium arch, which
seems to mark the entire landscape beyond as "sacred." It gives
onto a curved bridge over the river, and prepares one for the journey to
the heart of the complex. Torii gates invite a number of ritual practices,
such as the tossing of stones toward the lower beam; if the stone successfully
comes to rest on the lintel one's wish will likely be granted.