Izumo Taisha is one of the oldest and most important shrines in Japan. There’s no clear record of when it was first established but the main shrine in Shimane Prefecture was built in 1744. Its Saitama branch was built in 1985 and for their 35-year anniversary the shrine decided to not only give their structure a facelift but also their palette of graphics and crests.

Creative director Yu Yamada and art director Kishino Shogo worked together with the shrine to refresh their crests and symbols, not just for the sake of modernization but for timelessness and integrity.

The shrine’s primary crest is the niju-kikko-ken-hanabishi (二重亀甲剣花菱), which was combined with cloud graphics taken from the shrine’s name Izumo, which means shrine in the clouds. Other symbolic animals like the turtle and crane were also incorporated to be used in a variety of functions such as kites and amulets.

The new graphics were unveiled earlier this year, right before the pandemic hit. But the shrine managed to quickly move their operations online, offering remote ceremonies and prayer services. It’s also a nice way to visit the shrine and see how the new graphics are being used.