In Japan a tōrō (灯籠 or 灯篭, 灯楼, light basket, light tower?) is a traditional lantern made of stone, wood, or metal. Like many other elements of Japanese traditional architecture, it originated in China, however extant specimen in that country are very rare, and in Korea they are not as common as in Japan.In Japan, tōrō were originally used only in Buddhist temples, where they lined and illuminated paths. Lit lanterns were then considered an offering to Buddha. During the Heian period (794-1185), however, they started being used also in Shinto shrines and private homes.
The oldest extant bronze and stone lanterns can be found in Nara. Taima-ji has a stone lantern built during the Nara period, while Kasuga-taisha has one of the following Heian period. During the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568–1600) stone lanterns were popularized by tea masters, who used them as a decoration in their gardens. Soon they started to develop new types according to the need. In modern gardens they have a purely ornamental function and are laid along paths, near water or next to a building.
Tōrō can be classified in two main types, the tsuri-dōrō (釣灯籠・掻灯・吊り灯籠, lit. hanging lamp?), which usually hang from the eaves of a roof, and the dai-dōrō (台灯籠, lit. platform lamp?) used in gardens and along the approach (sandō) of a shrine or temple. The two most common types of dai-dōrō are the bronze lantern and the stone lantern, which look like hanging lanterns laid to rest on a pedestal.
Daishō-in or Daisyō-in (大聖院?) is a historic Japanese temple on Mt.Misen, the holy mountain on the island of Itsukushima, off the coast of Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima, Japan. It is the 14th temple in the Chūgoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage and famous for the maple trees and their autumn colors. It is also called "Suishō-ji" (水精寺?). Including Mt.Misen, Daishō-in is within the World Heritage Area of Itsukushima Shrine.
In this temple there is a flame which is said to have been burning since its foundation, for more than 1200 years.