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The Inner Shrine ({, Naikū) is one of the two main shrines making up the Ise Shrines in Ise City. Formally known as Kotai Jingu, the Inner Shrine enshrines Shinto's most venerated deity, the Sun Goddess (Amaterasu Omikami), and is considered Japan's most sacred shrine.

The Inner Shrine is believed to have been established over 2000 years ago. Its main buildings resemble ancient rice granaries and are built in an architectural style that shows almost no influence from the Asian mainland, as they predate the introduction of Buddhism. Both, the Inner and Outer Shrine, are rebuilt from scratch every 20 years. The 62nd rebuilding was completed in 2013. The 63rd rebuilding will take place in 2033.

A typical visit to the Inner Shrine takes between 60 and 90 minutes and starts from the Uji Bridge, an approximately 100 meter long, wooden bridge across the Isuzugawa River. The bridge has two large torii gates, one at each end, which are made from the former shrine building's main pillars. The shrine grounds fascinate through their simplicity, as visitors encounter little more than gravel-covered walkways and wooden, barely painted shrine structures, surrounded by a serene forest.

After passing the purification trough and one more torii gate, visitors have a unique additional opportunity to cleanse and purify themselves at a riverside site, using the water of the sacred Isuzugawa River. Further along the approach to the main sanctuary, visitors pass the Kaguraden, a building complex where charms and amulets can be acquired.

The main sanctuary is found at the top of a flight of stone stairs. The main hall enshrines the Sun Goddess and is surrounded by multiple sets of fences. Visitors are only allowed to go beyond the outermost of them where photography is not allowed. Only partially visible, the main hall features forked roof finishings (chigi) that are cut horizontally at their tips and have ten decorative wooden beams (katsuogi), differing slightly from the Outer Shrine.

There are a number of auxiliary shrines on the grounds of the Inner Shrine: a beautiful wooden bridge (shown on this page's top picture) leads from the Kaguraden building to the Kazahinominomiya which enshrines two wind deities. On a small hill next to the main shrine stands Aramatsurinomiya which enshrines the spirit of the Sun Goddess. Furthermore, there is an ancient rice granary called Mishinenomikura where the rice used for offerings is stored.

Getting there and around

The Inner Shrine stands several kilometers outside of central Ise and can be reached by bus from Iseshi Station, Ujiyamada Station and the Outer Shrine in 10-15 minutes and for 470 yen one way. It is also served by the CAN bus.

Alternatively, it can be reached from Isuzugawa Station by bus (6 minutes, 260 yen one way, frequent departures) or on foot (about two kilometers or 30 minutes).

How to get to and around the Shima Peninsula

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Hotels around Ise Shima

    • Glamp Ocean Iseshima
      A village of luxurious glamping domes commanding far reaching horizon. Opened in 2020. Savor barbeque dinner and breakfast with fresh seafoods by the beautiful private seashore. Bar, pool, shower available.
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    • Ise Chitose
      Budget-friendly
      Ise Chitose, a property with a garden, is situated in Ise, less than 1 km from Oharai-machi, 40 km from Tsu-k?, as well as 400 metres from Sarutahiko Shrine. The air-conditioned accommodation is 2.5 km from Ise Grand Shrine, and guests can benefit from complimentary WiFi and private parking available on site. Boasting family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. At the guest house, each unit is fitted with a shared bathroom. Ise-Shima Nat'l Park is 2.5 km from the guest house, while Ise Shrine Geku is 3.1 km from the property. The nearest airport is Nagoya Airport, 142 km from Ise Chitose.
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    • Guesthouse Ise Futami
      Budget-friendly
      Guesthouse Ise Futami, a property with a shared lounge, is located in Ise, 8.6 km from Ise Grand Shrine, 8.2 km from Oharai-machi, as well as 43 km from Tsu-k?. This guest house provides free private parking, a shared kitchen and free WiFi. The accommodation offers luggage storage space, a housekeeping service and organising tours for guests. Some units are equipped with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, washing machine and a kettle, as well as a fully equipped kitchen. In some units there is a dressing room for guests to change in. The area is popular for cycling and fishing, and bike hire is available at this 1-star guest house. Futamiokitama Shrine is 1.9 km from the guest house, while Sun Arena is 2.5 km away. The nearest airport is Nagoya Airport, 149 km from Guesthouse Ise Futami.
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    • Hoshidekan
      Budget-friendly
      Located 500 metres from Kintetsu Iseshi Train Station, Hoshidekan Ryokan (a member of the Japanese Inn Group) is a wooden building that was built in the 1920's and provides Japanese-style rooms with free WiFi, an LCD TV and traditional futon bedding. It has shared bath and a courtyard garden. Rooms at Hoshidekan have paper screens, a tatami (woven-straw) floor and a low wooden table. An air conditioner, slippers and green tea are provided. Bathrooms and toilets are shared. The Geku Ise Shrine is a 18-minute walk from the hotel. On-site parking is free and requires a reservation. The hotel has baths that can be reserved for private use, and a free-use internet station is provided at the lobby. A coin launderette is available. Guests staying with a meal plan will be served Japanese breakfast in the dining room.
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    • Ise Guest House Sora
      Budget-friendly
      5.2 km from Ise Grand Shrine, Ise Guest House Sora is a recently renovated property set in Ise and offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi and private parking. It is located 4.1 km from Oharai-machi and features luggage storage space. Parking on-site is available and the guest house also provides free use of bicycles for guests who want to explore the surrounding area. All units at the guest house come with a seating area. The units are equipped with a safety deposit box and certain rooms here will provide you with river views. The units feature a shared bathroom, slippers and bed linen. There is a coffee shop on-site. Tsu-k? is 38 km from the guest house, while Ise Shrine Geku is 1.5 km away. The nearest airport is Nagoya Airport, 143 km from Ise Guest House Sora.
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    • Hinode Ryokan
      Mid-range
      Conveniently located just a 2-minute walk from Iseshi Train Station, Hinode Ryokan is Japanese-style accommodation with a historic charm. Ise-jingu Shrinefs Geku (outer shrine) is a 5-minute walk away. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property. Ise-jingu Shrinefs Naiku (inner shrine) is a 20-minute bus ride away. Futami Sea Paradise Aquarium can be reached within a 25-minute walk. Fitted with tatami (woven-straw) flooring and traditional futon bedding, each room comes with facilities like a flat-screen TV, a fridge and an electric kettle. Guests can unwind at a seating area with a low table and cushions. Bathroom and toilets are shared with other guests. Ryokan Hinode offers bicycle rental services on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests can enjoy playing table tennis on site, and drinks vending machines are available. Traditional Japanese set meal can be served for breakfast in the privacy of the guestroom. There are many restaurants around the property, as well.
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    • Ise Guest House Kazami
      Budget-friendly
      Newly built in November 2018 as a dodecagon-shaped building, featuring an indoor garden at the atrium, Ise Guest House Kazami offers dormitory and private rooms. Guests can cook their own meals at the shared kitchen and use free WiFi in the entire building. All rooms feature air conditioning and heating facilities. Bathrooms and toilets are shared. Towels are available for an extra cost. The free-use kitchen provides a microwave, a fridge and an electric kettle. A small library is available for guests to spend their time in. A coin-launderette is on site as well. Kazami Guest House Ise is only a 2-minute walk from JR Iseshi Train Station, 5-minute walk from Ise Shrine and a 10-minute drive from Yamatohime no Miya Shrine. Meoto Iwa Wedded Rocks are a 30-minute train ride away. Free coffee and tea are available, while bread can be purchased on site.
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    • Taikoji Shukubo Hostel
      Budget-friendly
      Taikoji Shukubo Hostel is situated in Ise, 8 km from Ise Grand Shrine. Free private parking is available on site. All rooms are air conditioned and bathroom facilities are shared. Taikoji Shukubo Hostel features free WiFi throughout the property. There is a shared lounge at the property. Instant noodles and instant Japanese curry is available for purchase on site. There is a microwave and an electric kettle in the dining room at Taikoji Shukubo Hostel. Oharai-machi is 8 km from Taikoji Shukubo Hostel, while Ise Sea Paradise is 300 metres away. The nearest airport is Chubu Airport, 39 km from the property. Taikoji Shukubo Hostel is located on a mountain and is accessible via 100 steps from the parking lot.
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    • Weekly Mansion Ise No.6
      Budget-friendly
      Weekly Mansion Ise No.6 offers accommodation in Funaech?. Ise is 1.9 km from the property. Free WiFi is provided . JR Iseshi Station and Ujiyamada Station are both 3 minutes on foot. The accommodation has a flat-screen TV. All units feature a kitchenette fitted with a microwave and toaster. A fridge and stovetop are also offered, as well as a coffee machine and a kettle. Each unit comes with a private bathroom with a bath. Towels are featured. Free-use bicycles are available at the proeprty. Ise Shrine Geku is a 10-minute stroll. Toba is 11 km from Weekly Mansion Ise No.6, while Tsu is 33 km away. The nearest airport is Chubu Airport, 42 km from Weekly Mansion Ise No.6.
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    • Comfort Hotel Ise
      Mid-range
      Comfort Hotel Ise is set in Ise, 5.9 km from Ise Grand Shrine and 3.6 km from Oharai-machi. Featuring free bikes, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. Private parking is available on site. At the hotel, each room is fitted with a desk and a flat-screen TV. At Comfort Hotel Ise all rooms have bed linen and towels. A buffet breakfast is available every morning at the accommodation. Speaking English and Japanese, staff will be happy to provide guests with practical information on the area at the 24-hour front desk. Tsu-k? is 37 km from Comfort Hotel Ise, while Ise Shrine Geku is less than 1 km from the property. The nearest airport is Nagoya Airport, 143 km from the hotel.
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    • FAV HOTEL ISE
      Luxury
      Featuring 4-star accommodation, FAV HOTEL ISE is set in Ise, 6.6 km from Ise Grand Shrine and 4.2 km from Oharai-machi. The property is located 37 km from Tsu-k?, 700 metres from Ise Shrine Geku and 3.6 km from Sarutahiko Shrine. Free WiFi is available and private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. All units in the hotel are fitted with a kettle. All guest rooms will provide guests with air conditioning, a safety deposit box and a flat-screen TV. ?minato-k? is 6.3 km from FAV HOTEL ISE, while Ise-Shima Nat'l Park is 6.6 km from the property. The nearest airport is Nagoya Airport, 143 km from the accommodation.
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