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How to Build a Wooden Torii Gate

Amma Marfo

A Japanese torii gate is a highly decorative and recognizable element of Japanese architecture. Most often used to mark the entrance to shrines or temples, the doorless torii gate separates the exterior world and the interior sacred, spiritual world. Luckily, the simplistic style of a wooden torii gate can be built in a day by even novice woodworkers and installed into your landscape design without difficulty.

Torii gates lead to some of the most famous Japanese shrines.

Step 1

Measure down from one end of an 8-foot 4-by-4-inch post by eight inches. Mark this point and draw an upright rectangle 2 by 4 inches in size below it. Center the rectangle along the width of the post.

Step 2

Cut out the drawn rectangle with a jigsaw, going all the way through the post to make a hole. Measure, draw and cut out a rectangle with the other 8-foot post in the same manner.

Step 3

Lay the two prepared posts on the ground running parallel with the hole openings facing in (not up and down). Space the boards eight feet apart. Place the 2-by-4-inch board between the posts running perpendicularly.

Step 4

Slip the board ends through the holes in the posts and adjust the posts so the board extends beyond the posts by 10 inches on each side. Insert a screw through each post and into the board inside it once you’re satisfied with the overhang.

Step 5

Set the 9-foot post parallel to the 2-by-4 board against the top of the vertical post, making the 9-foot post and 8-foot board eight inches apart. Adjust the top post so it overhangs the vertical posts by 16 inches.

Step 6

Place a T-shaped bracket over the intersection of the posts at one top corner of the gate. Secure the bracket with screws. Place a second T-bracket along the other top corner. Flip the gate over and secure the remaining two T-brackets to the top corners along this side.

Step 7

Dig two holes six feet apart along the path where you want to place the gate. Make the holes 18 inches deep. Fill the holes with 4 to 6 inches of gravel. Stand the gate upright and set the ends of the 8-foot posts into the prepared holes. Pack the hole area around each post with soil to secure.