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[Mie] Visit Ise Grand Shrine, The Home Of The Japanese Soul

[Mie] Visit Ise Grand Shrine, The Home Of The Japanese Soul

Translated by MATCHA-PR

Written by MATCHA-PR

Mie 2016.04.30 Bookmark

Ise Grand Shrine in Mie prefecture has been a sacred place for the Japanese since ancient times. This article describes the features of this highly respected shrine, as well as how to properly visit it.

Ise Grand Shrine (Ise jingū) has been a sacred place for the Japanese people for more than 2000 years. One of the most cherished shrines, Ise Grand Shrine is composed of 125 shrines including the main "inner shrine" and the "outer shrine". The number of visitors reaches more than 8 million per year. Here, you can get closer to the soul and the real beauty of Japan.

First, Visit The Outer Shrine


At Ise Grand Shrine, it is most common to visit the Outer Shrine first and then the Inner Shrine. The Outer Shrine’s official name is Toyouke Daijingū. Here, the deities of food, clothing, shelter and industry are enshrined. It takes about 10 minutes on foot from the Iseshi station on the JR Kintetsu Line to reach the Outer Shrine. Generally, a visit takes around 30 minutes.

The Proper Way To Perform A Visit At A Shrine

Let’s go over some elements of etiquette that would leave a good impression on the Japanese who come to worship at this shrine.


Firstly, you will have to keep to the left side of the path when going toward the Outer Shrine, and to the right side when going to the Inner Shrine.


You will encounter something like this when going at any shrine. This is called chōzuya and is a place where the visitors purify their hands and mouth before approaching the main shrine.


Here are the proper steps to perform temizu, the ritual cleaning of the hands: 1) Bow once. 2) Take the water ladle in your right hand, scoop up the water, and wash the left hand. 3) Take the ladle in your left hand and wash the right hand.


4) Take the ladle back in your right hand and pour water in your cupped left hand to rinse your mouth. 5) Hold the ladle with both hands and let the rest of the water run over its handle as shown above. 5) Put the ladle back. 6) Bow again.


There are many shrines in on the grounds of the Ise Grand Shrine, as mentioned above. Whichever you decide to visit, you can pay your respects in the following way: bow twice, clap twice, pray, and bow once again.


Bow every time you are about to walk under a torii gate. You will most probably feel the solemnity of the atmosphere around you.

What To See At The Outer Shrine

At the Ise Grand Shrine, all the shrine buildings (shaden) are rebuilt and moved every 20 years. This ceremony is called "The Periodical Rebuildning of the Shrine" (Jingū Shikinen Sengū) and is considered the most important festival at this major shrine. You can now see the buildings erected on the previous edition of the ceremony, which took place in 2013.


At the Outer Shrine, you can enjoy the calm feeling of being surrounded by nature.


The most precious building of the Ise Grand Shrine is Goshōgū. In the picture above, you can see a big space next to the Goshōgū. It is the place where the old Goshōgū used to stand before the ceremonial rebuilding from 2013.


Goshōgū holds the highest status among all the other shrines. Its decoration is rather simple, but you can feel the greatness of the building itself. It is made with Japanese cypress in the Japanese traditional architectural style called Yui'itsu shinmei zukuri. Both the Outer and the Inner Shrines have their own Goshōgū. Let us remind you that photography is strictly prohibited inside the Goshōgū, as these buildings are believed to be sacred.

Now, let’s take a look at two other shrines.


This is Tsuchinomiya Shrine, "The Shrine of the Earth", surrounded by Japanese cedar. The deity of this area, Otsuchino Mioyanokami is enshrined.


This is Kazenomiya Shrine, "The Shrine of the Wind". Enshrined here is the deity that controls wind to protect Japan.


Besides shrines, you can find rocks in different shapes at the Outer Shrine. Try to find this heart shaped rock! It is believed that finding it brings good luck.

The Inner Shrine, Where The Ancestors Of The Japanese Emperors Are Enshrined


A bus ride from the Outer Shrine to the Inner Shrine takes about 10 minutes. The official name is of the Inner Shrine is Kōtai Jingū. Amaterasu Ōmikami, who is believed to be the direct ancestor of the Japanese emperors, is enshrined here.


Go over the Ujibashi Bridge, which hangs over the Isuzugawa River and enter the Inner Shrine. This bridge is considered to be taking the visitors to a sacred place and bring them into contact with the deities.


At the end of the Ujibashi bridge, you will find Shin'en ("the sacred garden"), where a pine planted by Emperor Taishō can be seen. You will feel at ease and calm as you continue on this wide pathway.


Isuzugawa River is also a place to purify your hands just like at the chōzuya at the Outer Shrine. Before worshiping, be sure to purify your hands and soul with the water from the river.


On the way to the Goshōgū, take a few moments to touch these magnificent trees and feel the years that have passed by them.

Climb up the stairs, and you'll finally reach Goshōgū. This is the place where you pay your respects to the gods. You can afterwards start your day afresh with nothing to worry about.

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Ise Grand Shrine, Outer Shrine
Address: Mie, Ise, Toyokawa-chō 279
Hours: 5:00 - 18:00 *It may vary by season
Closed: -
Wi-Fi: -
Credit cards: -
Languages: Japanese
Menu in other languages: -
Most accessible station: Iseshi Station (伊勢市駅) on the Kintetsu Line
Access: A 5-minute walk from Iseshi Station
Admission: Free
Religion: Shintō
Phone number: +81-596-24-1111
Official HP: Ise Grand Shrine

Ise Grand Shrine, Inner Shrine

Address: Mie, Ise, Ujikan-chō 1
Hours: 5:00 - 18:00 *It may vary by season
Closed: -
Wi-Fi: -
Credit cards: -
Languages: Japanese
Other languages: -
Most accessible station: Naikūmae stop (内宮前駅) by bus
Access: Take the Mie Kōtsū Bus from the Kintetsu Ujiyamada station and get off at Naikūmae Stop. The ride will take approx. 15 minutes.
Admission: Free
Religion: Shintō
Phone number: +81-596-24-1111
Official HP: Ise Grand Shrine

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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