Japan, Day 5: Ise Jingu (revisit)

Despite the tiring walks from the previous days, I was still excited for this day trip because I would be going back to Ise Jingu.

NOVEMBER 25, 2018

From Kintetsu Nagoya Station, it was about an hour and a half trip to Ujiyamada Station. And then from Ujiyamada, I rode a bus going to Ise Jingu (Geku) for less than 10 minutes.

During my previous visit, there were few people around because it was a weekday and we reached the place at around 8AM (read it here). But this time, it was a Sunday and already 10AM so there was a huge crowd of locals already.

GEKU (Outer Shrine) of Ise Jingu was my first stop and this shrine is dedicated to Toyouke Omikami, deity of three essentials of human life: cloth, food and shelter.

After visiting the small shrine at the top of the small hill in Geku, I went back to the bus stop to go to Naiku.

NAIKU (Inner Shrine) was even more crowded than Geku. I wasn’t able to take a picture of Ujibashi Bridge but good thing I already have one from the previous trip.

Wooden stands at one side of Ujibashi Bridge will be used in 2033 when Shikinen Sengu will be celebrated – a ceremony wherein all shrine buildings and main bridges in Ise Jingu are rebuilt every 20 years. Interestingly, the wood they use are sourced from trees grown within the shrine grounds. Shikinen Sengu happens every 20 years and the last time it has been held was in 2013. Through rebuilding, it is said that the power of the deity (Amaterasu-Omikami) is renewed.

Remember to walk along the side of the road because the center aisle is believed to be for deities only. Notice how most locals stay on the side.

When entering shrines and temples in Japan, temizu should be done to cleanse the mind and body as their gods are believed to hate impurity. In Naiku, aside from the common method of using a small wooden dipper, one option is to go to Isuzugawa (Isuzu River) to wash hands and rinse your mouth.

Seeing Naiku in autumn season was another treat – Isuzugawa was a nice spot to see trees in autumn colors.

The most crowded area in Naiku was Shogu, which is the main palace dedicated to Amaterasu-Omikami, Shinto’s most venerated deity. It is believed that her sacred mirror is enshrined inside the palace. Most people are not allowed to enter the inside of the palace but certain powerful people are given special exemptions.

After going around a bit more, we decided to leave the temple just in time for the bus going back to Ujiyamada Station.

A glimpse of Ujibashi Bridge

Ise Jingu will always one of my favorite places in Japan. I like the crunch sound whenever the sole of my shoes press on the pebbles, the bright rays of sunshine that are able to pass through spaces in between trees, and that unexplainable feeling of tranquillity in this place. I will definitely return there whenever possible during my future Japan trips!

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