At the Yame Dentou Kougei-kan (Yame Traditional Craftwork Center), there is as giant lantern that might as well be a torii or a pagoda because of its size. It is the biggest Stone Lantern I know.
In the olden times, stone lanterns were light towers that had double purpose: as illumination and as offering to Buddha. These days though, stone lanterns are ornamental elements of Japanese gardens (Nihon teien).
Ishidourou (stone lanterns) are a constant feature of Japanese Gardens meant to add to the balance, harmony, and enduring nature of the garden. They have become almost iconic in their significance. In its usual form, there's a pedestal that supports the lantern, though they have varied designs.
Mark Brazil, in his post for Japanese Visitor, traced the origin of Stone Lanterns.
They were first used as votive lights, not for gardens. Introduced to Japan from China during the 6th century, stone lanterns were part of the arriving Buddhist tradition, with the light held in the lamp representing the teachings of the Buddha that help overcome the "darkness of ignorance."
#stonelanterns #kyusku #fukuoka #yamecity #ishidourou