Nihon no Ise Jingu – I

After bidding goodbye to winter, excited with the idea of driving a car on a lovely spring day, we planned to take a drive through Mie prefecture.

A two hour drive from Nagoya is the ‘Ise’ city. Ise is well known for the “Ise Grand Shrine” or “Ise Jingu”. It is a Shinto shrine complex. The two main shrines are the Naiku and Geku.

One third of the Ise is forestland owned by Ise Jingu. A happy drive, beautiful landscape, clean river and the astonishing facts of the shrine made Ise one of the unforgettable places we have ever been.

Ujibashi Torii

The Ujibashi Torii leads to the Ujibashi Bridge. It is a huge traditional wooden bridge which spans 101.8 meters over the Isuzugawa River. This bridge is rebuilt every twenty years following the Shikinen Sengu Cycle.

View of Isuzugawa River from Ujibashi Bridge

Naiku Garden

Apart from the Ujibashii Torii at the entrance, there are two other Toriis on the way to the main Shrine. I’ve written about the significance of Torii in my last post.


Temizusha is a place where people purify themselves by rinsing their hands and mouth before going to the shrine.

Isuzugawa River

One of the many old trees

Naiku is dedicated to the worship of Amaterasu-ōmikami. She is the goddess of the sun and a major deity of the Shinto religion. The name Amaterasu is derived from Amateru meaning “shining in heaven.”  “Kami” means God/Natural force/Spirit.

On the way to the main shrine is the Kaguraden. A sacred dance (Kagura) and music are offered to the Kami during ceremonies in this building.


The Sacred Dance

Shogu is the Main Shrine where the supreme deity Amaterasu-ōmikami is enshrined. It is surrounded by wooden fences. Over 1500 annual rituals are conducted here.

Main Shrine

My next post will be about the Shikinen Sengu ceremony which is held here every 20 years. The next ceremony will be conducted in 2013.