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Ise Shrine

Ise ShrineMap of Ise ShrineIse Shrine ("Ise Jinguu" in Japanese) is the Shinto shrine in Ise city.
It is the central shrine of the 80 thousand shrines in Japan, and is treated as a special shrine.

According to Japanese myth, Yamato-hime-no-mikoto, a daughter of Emperor Suinin traveled around western Japan, then she reached here, and she founded this shrine in 4 B.C.
And she enshrined Amaterasu-Oomikami, the sun goddess and her ancestor.

In ancient times, only Emperor, Empress and Crown Prince were allowed to visit.
In medieval times, samurais visited here.
And since the 17th century, common people has visited here. Especially, visiting Ise Shrine was the lifelong dream of citizens in Edo Period (1603-1868).

Now more than 5 million people visit here every year.
Additionally, the prime minister has visited here on January 4th every year since 1967, as their first work of the new year.

Ise Shrine has two main shrines. They are Naikuu (formally, Koutai-Jinguu) and Gekuu (formally, Toyouke-Daijinguu).
And Ise Shrine has 125 branch shrines in total, in and around Ise city.

Ise Shrine advises that you visit Gekuu first then visit Naikuu.
But the distance between these shrines is about 4 km. So many people who don't have much time visit only Naikuu.
As a result, Naikuu is always crowded.

Despite its long history, all buildings in this shrine is not old.
Because, they are rebuilt every 20 years. And this rebuiding has been done since 690.
This rebuilding is the big event of the shrine, and about 30 ceremonies are held for 8 years until the completion.
This event is called "Shikinen-Senguu" as a whole.
The last Shikinen-Senguu was held in 1993, and the 62th Shikinen-Senguu is scheduled in 2013. (The ceremonies for it have already been held since 2005.)

Ise Shrine official website

Gekuu /1/

Gekuu It is one of the main shrine of Ise Jinguu, and is located about 0.7 km southwest of Iseshi station of JR or Kintetsu Line.
It is said that it was founded in 478.
The formal name is Toyouke-Daijinguu, and the goddess of food "Toyouke-Oomikami" is enshrined.
After we walk on the approach about 300 meters long, we reach the main shrine.
You can't take photos in the main shrine.

Naikuu /2/

Naikuu It is a one of the main shrine of Ise Jinguu, and is located about 4 km southeast of Gekuu.
Many people visit this shrine as Ise Shrine. Of course, this is the original shrine of Ise Jinguu.

First you cross Uji Bridge across Isuzu River. You have entered the sacred area.
You walk on the wide approach along the garden for about 300 meters.
There is a Chozuya (water ablution pavilion). Please wash your hands and mouth there.
After you pass through the torii gate, you can go to the riverside of Isuzu River. Isuzu River is the sacred river, so please dip your hands in the water.
You walk on the approach in the forest for about 400 meters.
You reach the stone stairs. The main shrine is on the top of the stairs. You can't take photos in the main shrine.

You had better take about an hour here.

Oharai-machi street /3/

Oharai-machi street It is the shrine town along a street from old times, and it is always full with people after worshipping.
It is the street about 800 meters long from near Uji Bridge.
There are many souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants. We can find the restaurants serving Ise Udon.
And there is the tea shop of Akafuku at the middle of the street. We can taste Akafuku, very popular sweet confection in Ise.

Okage-yokocho /4/

Okage-yokocho It is the town like a theme park around the tea shop of Akafuku.
There are the buildings and houses in the 17-19th centuries. There are many restaurants, shops, museums and theaters.
We can enjoy the town with Oharai-machi.

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

By railroad and route bus

  • By limited express of Kintetsu Line, to Uji-Yamada station, about 1 hour and 25 minutes from Nagoya, about 2 hours and 2-7 minutes from Kyoto, about 1 hour and 45-50 minutes from Nanba or Osaka-Uehonmachi.
  • By route bus, from Uji-Yamada station, about 5 minutes to Gekuu, about 15 minutes to Naikuu.

By car

Run on Ise Expressway, and exit at Ise-Nishi Exit. About 2 km to Gekuu, about 2 km to Naikuu, from there.

Entrance of Gekuu
Approach of Gekuu
Main shrine of Gekuu The precincts of Gekuu
Uji Bridge Approach through the garden
Garden near the approach Sacred Isuzu River
Approach in the forest Main shrine of Naikuu
New main shrine will be built here. Oharai-machi street
Tea shop of Akafuku Okage-yokocho

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