Even though the Shrine is in the center of the Lands, it is the first area that Wander actually sets foot in, as the only entrance to the Lands is an enormous bridge that spans halfway across the Forbidden Lands that leads directly to the Shrine.
There are two main areas in the Shrine. The first area Wander enters is a cylindrical room with a lengthy, spiral ramp winding around its edge, which Wander walks down to get to ground level. This room also contains a shallow basin of water. In addition to being important to the plot, the basin is where all Time Attack rewards will show up once unlocked.
The second area is the main hall of the shrine, containing the altar where Mono is placed, the idols representing the sixteen colossi, a balcony that over looks the land to the north, and a great sunlit aperture in the ceiling of the main hall where Dormin talks from.
The Secret Garden
At the end of the game, Agro and Mono try to exit the shrine, only to find that the giant bridge has collapsed. They notice, however, a path to their right, which leads them to a beautiful courtyard filled with fruit and various animals (including some not previously seen in the Lands). This location has been referred to as the "garden" or "secret garden" by fans.
It is possible for Wander to climb up the temple (see below) and explore this area. However, none of the animals mentioned above are present, and consuming the fruit will actually lower both Wander's maximum health and stamina considerably. Fumito Ueda, the game's director, puts this in a positive light, however: "The fruit in the ancient land was set to get you closer to non-human existence. The (secret garden's) fruit was set to return you to a human one".
Several animals can be found in the Shrine's garden with Mono at the end of the game. A few of them are not seen anywhere else, including a fawn and a chipmunk. The latter two are not present in the original American release.
Climbing up the Shrine
It is possible to climb up the Shrine all the way to the other side of its northern (back) entrance. From there, Wander can go to the garden or run all the way across the bridge to the Forbidden Lands' main entrance. He cannot exit the Lands, however; a mysterious gust of wind will force him back. In the original release, leaping diagonally up the path conserves stamina, as it takes almost no stamina to leap diagonally, and a small ledge could be utilized to rest on. As of the 2011 HD release, leaping diagonally now drains as much stamina as any other directional vertical leap, and it is no longer possible to rest anywhere on the climb up.
Note: the following video walkthrough is relevant only to the original version of the game (attempting the following in the 2011 HD release will not work).
Top of the Shrine
The garden is the highest the Shrine can be climbed. It was not meant to be climbed any higher in the final game; those who have tried to climb higher through various glitches, cheats, or other exploits found that much of the ground had no collision detection, and that still higher geometry had no texture mapping. This was not always the case, however. Early builds of the game had a fully-textured top-half of the Shrine; apparently, it was originally planned for Wander to be able to climb all the way up to the top. Since something of that large a scale and so low a development priority was not worth the time required to implement it, however, the idea was scrapped.
- It takes approximately eight and a half minutes to run the entire length of the bridge.
- If the player manages to reach the garden, there is a particular reason why eating all of the garden's fruit is highly inadvisable, as it prolongs the colossus battles. As Wander's health and stamina increases over the course of the game, it becomes easier to defeat each colossus (this becomes obvious during the second playthrough). As a result, the colossus battles are much shorter and less challenging. Eating all of the fruit at the beginning of a playthrough will deplete Wander's strength and stamina, which can make each battle last longer than usual.
- There are 37 fruits to shoot down in the garden. If Wander's health and stamina are maxed out, however, not even this will be enough to return them to the way they first were. It is thus advisable to attempt the "Cornucopia" trophy at the beginning of a playthrough - when health and stamina are maxed - as one can eat all the fruits of the garden and regain a portion of lost health and stamina by then eating the Forbidden Lands' other fruits, lizards, and by defeating colossi.