Ise Shrines

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The Ise Jingu consists of two shrines: the Outer Shrine (Geku), which is dedicated to Toyouke, the Shinto deity of clothing, food and housing, and the Inner Shrine (Naiku), which enshrines the most venerated deity Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess. They are Shinto's most sacred shrines.

Naiku and Geku are located several kilometers apart from each other at the foot of densely wooded hills. Unlike most other Shinto shrines, the Ise Shrines are built in a purely Japanese architecture style which shows almost no influence from the Asian mainland. Naiku is believed to have been established in the 3rd century and Geku in the 5th century.

Outside the Outer Shrine's main sanctuary

The shrines fascinate through their pure simplicity. There is nothing but green trees, broad gravel lanes and the wooden, barely painted shrine structures. Because the Ise Shrines are so sacred, no pictures may be taken near their main halls, a task that would be difficult anyway, as the view of the innermost buildings is partially obstructed by a set of wooden fences.

The Naiku and Geku are both rebuilt every 20 years according to an ancient Shinto tradition. For that matter, an empty lot is located besides every shrine building as the site for its next rebuilding. Ise Shrine's 62nd rebuilding was completed in 2013. The 63rd rebuilding will take place in 2033.

Auxiliary shrine at the Outer Shrine (Geku)

The 62nd Rebuilding of the Shrines

In early October 2013, the deities of the Naiku and Geku moved into their newly completed buildings. For a few months, visitors are now able to visit the old and new buildings before the old buildings will be dismantled. Various ceremonies and festivals accompanied the shrines' rebuilding, starting as early as 2005.

The Sengukan Museum was opened in spring 2012 at the entrance of the Outer Shrine (Geku) for visitors to learn more about the shrines' rebuilding. The museum's outstanding exhibits include a fourth of a 1:1 replica of the shrine's main building as well as a beautiful 1:20 model of the main sanctuary. An English pamphlet and audio guide are available, but all the signage is in Japanese only.

Sengukan Museum

Get There and Around

The Outer Shrine is located in central Ise, about a 5 minute walk from Ise-shi Station, while the Inner Shrine stands several kilometers outside of the city center. The Inner Shrine can be reached by bus from Ise-shi Station or the Outer Shrine in about 15 minutes and 420 yen.

Both shrines can also be accessed by the CAN bus, which provides direct connections between the shrines, Ise-shi Station, Edo Wonderland, the Meoto Iwa Rocks and Toba.

A one day pass for the CAN bus costs 1000 yen and provides unlimited rides on the bus, as well as discounts on admission to various attractions. A two day pass is available for 1600 yen.

How to get to and around the Shima Peninsula

Hours and Fees

Outer and Inner Shrines

Hours

5:00 to 18:00 (March, April, September and October)
4:00 to 19:00 (May to August)
5:00 to 17:00 (November and December)
5:00 to 17:30 (January and February)

Closed

No closing days

Fees

Free

Sengukan Museum

Hours

9:00 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00)

Closed

Every 4th Tuesday of the month (or next day if that Tuesday is a national holiday)

Fees

300 yen
Last updated: November 1, 2013
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