The strips of white paper hanging from the "torii" gate are called "gohei" (御幣). They are common at Shinto shrines to indicate the boundaries of sacred space and to purify that space and all who enter.
Thanks to all for your wonderfully interesting discussion on yesterday's image. I enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts, and am flattered to have an audience here of such thoughtful and involved photographers. In fact, I have learned a lot from visiting your blogs, so keep up the good work!