If your body is a temple, your head is a shrine? Provide easy access to your bonce for roaming Shinto gods with a torii gate hair accessory.

Along with Mount Fuji, the torii gates that stand outside Shinto shrines in their cinnabar orange-red glory are one of the most iconic images of Japan. The gates mark the entrance the gods take to enter shrines, which is the reason why visitors at some shrines are told that they should use the left or right-hand sides of the gate so as to keep the centre clear for passing gods.

While thousands flock to take photos of perhaps the most famous torii gate, the ‘floating’ torii by Itsukushima Shrine on the island of Miyajima, now you can show your appreciation of the aesthetically pleasing torii shape and colour by using it to keep your hair in place.

Now that yukata season is finally here it’s the perfect opportunity to get dressed up in the light-weight summer kimono. And while the yukata accessory of choice for some is a can of cold, delicious beer, there are other bits and pieces to set off the ensemble for the lady or longer-haired gentleman.

One of those pieces is the torii kanzashi hair pin, now on sale for 5,400 yen (US$48.65) on the Village Vanguard website. Purveyors of the weird and wonderful, Village Vanguard (who have previously offered us ninja bikinis, leftover bath drink and manga umbrellas and only asked for mere money in return) have caught our attention yet again.

With one leg longer than the other, this torii would likely only be able to walk in circles, but fortunately that’s not its job – it just has to look pretty, and that it does well.

The model above is wearing two or three of the torii hairpins at the same time, but she has a few more to go before they can rival Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, a World Heritage Site with about 10,000 torii gates lining its paths up the mountain, as seen in the photo below.

Probably its secondary selling point, after its simple beauty, is the shock value of the size and the fact that the design makes it look like a vengeful god has driven a very small piece of shrine furniture through the top of your skull, like the classic Halloween accessory of a plastic axe or dagger.

You can also double up the Shinto shrine appreciation with earrings designed to look like the giant ‘chrysanthemum rosettes’ seen as decorations on the hoko (spear) floats, rolling around like shrines on wheels at Kyoto’s Gion Festival. A pair of these cost 3,780 yen (US$34) and will draw the attention of passersby as you go about your one-(wo)man parade.

Quite fetching, I think you’ll all agree, although given this writer’s hair measuring scant millimetres in a bid to survive the summer heat, neither the torii hair pin nor its dried sardine equivalent would make the perfect gift. But pink and blue curry on the other hand…

Source, top image: Village Vanguard
Insert images: Village Vanguard, Wikipedia/Pundit

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