The traditional outdoor lanterns are called Ishidoro or Toro in short and are usually made using metal, stone, or wood. They originated in China and became popular in Japan since Buddhism spread throughout Asia. Nowadays, these stone lanterns can also be found in countries like China, Korea, and Vietnam.
The Japanese stone lantern is said to become the illuminated pathway as an offering for Buddha. It is also said that Buddha taught his disciples that the lights inside the stone lantern would help them overcome their sins of ignorance, and the light will also be a great reminder of this teaching.
After the stone lantern became even more popular, the original religion of Japan, Shintoism, also began using it for their temples and sacred sites.
Then, starting in the 16th century, the usage of the stone lantern was recognized by the traditional community and adopted by the Japanese tea master. The tea master then began using the stone lantern to light up their tea garden to light the way, and it wasn’t long until the wealthy community started using them in their own house.