Tomytec 1/150 Temple




2800 yen SRP




Scott Van Aken




Japan is not a monotheistic society. There are people who believe such and many religions are represented and tolerated, but most are a very tiny percentage of what one sees in much of the rest of the world. It means there are very few if any religious nut cases or what are there are either totally ignored or are being provided the proper mental care.

By far the most popular religion in Japan is Shinto (Way of the Gods). This focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently in order to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past. One could broadly explain it as ancestor worship, but it is not that focused.

As much as nearly 80% of the population in Japan participates in Shinto practices or rituals, but only a small percentage of these identify themselves as "Shintoists" in surveys. This is because Shinto has different meanings in Japan. Most of the Japanese attend Shinto shrines and beseech kami without belonging to an institutional Shinto religion. There are no formal rituals to become a practitioner of "folk Shinto". Thus, "Shinto membership" is often estimated counting only those who do join organised Shinto sects.

However, only 40% of the population participates in organized religion and 35% are Buddists. Despite only having about 4% devout membership, there are 81,000 shrines throughout Japan. Many are devoted to specific gods. For more information and a pretty decent primer on Shinto, visit the wiki link.


As some of you know, I dabble in Japanese N-gauge railroading, so one thing I thought I should have on the layout somewhere is a shrine. Tomytec and Kato as well as others produce a wide variety of buildings. Many are paper, some are all ready to go and others are kits. Many of the Tomytec offerings are prepainted kits. These are ridiculously easy to assemble as long as they don't require a lot of stickers. I have some strip mall buildings that require dozens of stickers (all of which need to be cut out) and I totally ran out of enthusiasm for the hundreds that were required for my elevated station. However, this one needed none.

I reproduced the instructions for building this one and you can see how everything slots or snaps in place. No glue is required, though sometimes you get one that just has to have it to hold bits in place. I got one house that had a base so warped it was useless. This is rare. These are, of course, made in China. The painting is actually quite good considering the scale. Of course, none of the parts are cleaned up so there are mold release lines and those that you need to cut from sprues will have to be touched up. None of those in this one as all the bits were separate.

This is actually only one part of a larger possible display. There is another set with the large, tall tower-like structure and another that includes an entrance gate and bell. Tomytec also sells a base so you can make a nice model of the entire shrine grounds. One can get things like trees, fences and so on so this isn't specifically for railroaders.


I'm sure few of you will actually be interested in something like this, but if you are modeling J-rail or want something a bit off the norm, you may want to consider this. I should also mention that it took longer to write this article than it did to build the structure! (Photo does not show the front roof supports which I'll install later as they are not press fits.)

Late note. I have been informed that this is actually a Buddhist temple and not the Shinto shrine I thought it was. At least I learned something. Thanks Kevin.

December 2017

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