Shrine at Ise

Avery B


The Shrine at Ise is located in the city of Ise, in Southern Honshu, Japan. The shrine has a natural location, within the Sacred Forest of Ise Jingu, which covers 5500 hectares.


The Shrine at Ise, also known as the Grand Shrine of Ise, and commonly known as "The Shrine," is an important Shinto shrine. Its official name is Jingu, which means ¨The Shrine¨. It's highly favored as the holiest temple complex in Japan. The Ise Shrine is a shrine complex that consists of 125 individual shrines split into two main parts, called the Inner Shrine and the Outer Shrine. The two shrines are located about four miles apart and joined by a pilgrimage road. Each shrine's main building is a simple thatched hut made out of unpainted cypress wood from the Shrine's surrounding forest, in ancient Japanese style. Although, the Inner and Outer Shrines are difficult to see because they're so holy and important that they are mostly blocked by wooden fences. The Shrine at Ise is also a popular place of pilgrimage and a tourist attraction. In fact, more than seven million Shinto worshippers visit the Shrine each year, so the Japanese Government designated it a National Treasure. Below is a picture of the Shrine.


The Shrine at Ise has a fascinating history. It has long been sacred due to the sacred Japanese cypress trees in its forest. Long ago, these cypress trees were worshipped in nature, with no buildings. Later on, a special cypress tree was cut down, made into a post, and the shrine building was constructed around it. The post was believed to keep its sacredness during the construction. Of the two main shrines, the Inner Shrine was founded first, in 4 BC, according to traditions. But according to historians, it was founded in the third century AD. The Outer Shrine was founded in the late fifth century AD. The original Shrine was built by Emperor Temmu. In about 680 AD, the Ise Shrine was established as the primary Shinto shrine of imperial Japan under Emperor Temmu. In 692 AD, the first rebuilding ceremony occurred under his wife, Empress Jito. The Shrine at Ise plays the role of a place of worship for people of the Shinto religion. People go there to worship the Shinto gods.


The Shinto religion considers the Shrine at Ise sacred. The Shrine is sacred and religiously important to those who follow the Shinto religion. It's also sacred to the Japanese, because it's in Japan.

The Shrine at Ise is very sacred to the Shinto religion for many reasons, mainly because of the two major Shinto sanctuaries, the Inner and Outer shrines. They are dedicated to gods worshipped by the Shinto religion, and other sacred things occur and reside in the two shrines. The Inner Shrine, called Naiku, is dedicated to the Shinto sun goddess, Amaterasu Omikami, who is considered the imperial family's ancestor. The Inner Shrine houses Amaterasu's Sacred Mirror, one of the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan. The mirror is a Shintai, a sacred object where a Shinto god resides. It's kept in closed box or cupboard and usually enclosed in a cloth in the Inner Shrine. Amaterasu's Mirror is a very sacred object, so the fact that it's located in the Shrine at Ise makes the place very sacred. Naiku's dedication to the sun goddess makes the Shrine very sacred, as well. The Outer Shrine, called Geku, is dedicated to the Shinto goddess of food, agriculture, industry clothing, and shelter, Toyouke Okami. Geku oversees the offering of the sacred food to Amaterasu, which occurs twice a day. The Outer Shrine's offering of sacred food and dedication to Toyouke Okami makes the Shrine at Ise very sacred. Another reason why the Shrine is sacred is because it holds religious ceremonies, like Shikinen Sengu. Shikinen Sengu is a religious ceremony where the main shrine buildings are destroyed, then reconstructed on an adjacent site, ensuring the Shrine's sacredness for the next twenty years. It dates back to the seventh century and has occurred regularly every 20 years since. The religious ceremony Shikinen Sengu makes the Shrine at Ise sacred to Shinto worshipers, along with the sacredness emitted by the Inner and Outer Shrines.

Interesting and Fun Facts

The Shrine at Ise has many interesting and fun facts. In fact, the Shrine's surrounding forest, the Sacred Forest of Ise Jingu, hasn't been cut since the foundation of the Shrine. Each shrine is surrounded by ninety hectares of forest. Roosters often wander the two main shrines, especially Naiku. Another fact is that the Supreme Priestess of the Ise Shrine ranks above the supreme Shinto priest, who has the highest rank at other Shinto shrines. Also, the fact that the Shinto sun goddess that Naiku is dedicated to is represented as a female deity is very unique, especially is ancient time and mythology. These are the interesting facts about the Shrine at Ise.

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