日本での一年間

April 2, 2009

Ise Shrine (Part 1- Outer Shrine)

Filed under: Chubu, Domestic, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 2:40 am

After leaving Kobe, we went towards Ise (we actually made a brief stop in Osaka at 6 am, but I’ll post those pictures later). In the city of Ise, pretty much all there is to see is the Ise shrine, one of the most important shrines of the Shinto religion. The Shrine is enormous and split up into two sprawling complexes, the outer shrine and the inner shrine. The outer shrine is a short walk from the train station and the inner shrine is a 20 minute bus ride away from there. Ise city is located in Mie prefecture and isn’t next to any major cities, but because this shrine is so important, there are express trains linking Ise to both the Kansai area (meaning Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe) and Nagoya. And the city is packed with tourists who come in on the 2 train lines and on buses.

The shrine is dedicated to Ameterasu, the sun goddess, and is rebuilt every 20 years. Apparently this rebuilding is related to a Shinto belief about death and renewal. But it’s certainly very expensive to constantly rebuild the huge shrine. On the day we visited the shrine, it was raining violently all morning, right up until the time we reached the shrine. It seemed like the sun god herself was preventing the rain from falling on her shrine and coming out to greet us. As soon as we reached the shrine, it was suddenly sunny.

One unfortunate thing about this shrine, however, is that most of it is closed off to the public. The buildings themselves are beautiful, but you can only catch small glimpses of it through holes in the fences or over barriers. Still, the shrine is worth a visit in my opinion, especially the bigger inner shrine.

a bridge leading up to the outer shrine

a bridge leading up to the outer shrine

Shinto gate

Shinto gate

The only real part of the shrine the public can go to. But you cant take pictures once past that gate. Some people, after sawing their prayers inside the gate, bow upon exiting, as these people are doing.

The only real part of the shrine the public can go to. But you can't take pictures once past that gate. Some people, after sawing their prayers inside the gate, bow upon exiting, as these people are doing.

One of the barriers that prevents you from seeing the actual shrine

One of the barriers that prevents you from seeing the actual shrine

you can kind of see the shrine over the fence, behind the trees.

you can kind of see the shrine over the fence, behind the trees.

After we’d walked through the whole outer shrine, my friend who I was traveling with asked me, “Where’s the outer shrine?” She didn’t know that most of the shrine is blocked off.

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2 Comments »

  1. […] Filed under: Domestic, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 1:08 am I wrote a bit about Ise shrine in my previous post about the outer shrine. For more information, you can also look at the official website. The link is to their English […]

    Pingback by Ise Shrine (Part 3-Inner Shrine) « 日本での一年間 — April 4, 2009 @ 1:08 am

  2. […] Ise Shrine (Part 1- Outer Shrine) […]

    Pingback by Einar Thomassen » Blog Archive » List of Jingū — May 4, 2009 @ 11:46 pm


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