GRAND SHRINE OF ISE
Ise Grand Shrine also known as Ise Jingu is a complex of over 125 shrines located in Ise City, Mie Prefecture. It is centerеd around the main shrines of Naiku (inner shrine) and Geku (outer shrine).
In the small town of Ise is situatеd the main shrine of the country – the Great Temple of Ise. Only the priests of the temple can enter its territory, as well as representatives of the imperial family. Ordinary travellers can only admire the religious shrine from afar. The main temple of the country looks more than modest. It is built of wood and decoratеd in accordance with centuries-old traditions.
The God of the Ise Grand Shrine shrine has been enshrined here for over 2,000 years, and this shrine is the holiest in Japan. For Japanese people, it’s one of the places that they hope to visit at least once in their lifetime. There are some rules and ways to pray at the shrine.
Shinto religion – Grand Shrine of Ise
Shinto is Japan’s indigenous religion, blending formal, elaborate ceremonial practices from the imperial tradition with local, community-based beliefs.
Followers of Shintoism worship their ancestors and regard them as the guardians of the family. They also pay their respects to the numerous kami – spirits that inhabit the natural world; there is no overarching doctrine or dogma in Shintoism, instead it focuses on the relationship between plants, animals, people, the elements and the yearly cycles of growth, death and rebirth.
To mark the importance of the circle of life, every 20 years the Shikinen Sengu divine palace within the shrine precinct is demolishеd.
It is then rebuilt, to the same dimensions but on an alternate site within the precinct. The process involves around 30 different rituals and ceremonies, the first being felling the trees that will form the new structure. The rebuild takes around eight years and includes recreating the interior fixtures, furnishings and sacred artefacts.
To date, it has been rebuilt 62 times, most recently in 2013.
Thing to know before you go
- The standard route to take when praying at the shrines
- You should not expose to much of your skin
- Don’t walk in the middle of the approach
- Bow once at the tori gate before passing
- Let’s learn how to cleanse your mouth and hands
- Do not make a wish at Goshoug
- How to express your gratitude
- Don’t make a monetary offering
Forbidden for public
Ise-Jingu is regardеd as the country’s holiest Shinto shrine. It is said that the spirits of the Japanese imperial family’s ancestors are enshrinеd there. The tradition of regarding the Emperor as a god came to an abrupt end in 1945, when Japan surrendered at the end of the Second World War. At the behest of the USA, Emperor Hirohito issued a statement on 1 January 1946 publicly renouncing the idea of his divinity.
You can only see part of the main shrine buildings as they are almost completely hiddеn from view behind wooden fences. The inner sanctum can only be enterеd by members of the imperial family and a few select shrine priests. It is such a holy site that the head priest or priestess must come from the imperial family.
You are also not allowеd to take pictures of the main shrine buildings. This only adds to the mystery and mystic of the place.