Carpe Diem #1147 – Day 7 – Ise Shrine

Carpe Diem #1147 – Day 7 – Ise Shrine

This month at Carpe Diem I’m exploring the “Motherland” of haiku, Japan.

Today we are taking a look at Ise Shrine

The Ise Grand Shrine is sometimes called “The Shrine of the shrines” to indicate its status as the most sacred Shintō shrine it is located in the city of Ise.

Mie Prefecture of Japan is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu.

Officially known simply as Jingu, Ise Jingu is a shrine complex composed of a large number of Shinto shrines centered on two main shrines, Naiku and Geku


Photo Credit  

Besides Naikū and Gekū, there are an additional 123 Shinto shrines in Ise City and the surrounding areas, 91 of them connected to Naikū and 32 to Gekū

The two main shrines of Ise are joined by a pilgrimage road that passes through the old entertainment district of Furuichi.

The chief priest or priestess of Ise Shrine must come from the Imperial House of Japan and is responsible for watching over the Shrine.

The current high priestess of the shrine is Atsuko Ikeda, assisted by former imperial princess Sayako Kuroda.

Rebuilding the Shrine

The shrine buildings at Naikū and Gekū, as well as the Uji Bridge, are rebuilt every 20 years as a part of the Shinto belief of the death and renewal of nature and the impermanence of all things and as a way of passing building techniques from one generation to the next.


Photo Credit  

The twenty-year renewal process is called the Sengu.

The shrine buildings are made of solid cypress wood and use no nails but instead joined wood.

The Shrine is in its 62nd reconstruction, meaning this tradition has been carried out for at least 1,240 years. The next reconstruction will be in 2033.

In the lead-up to the rebuilding of the shrines, a number of festivals are held to mark special events.


Photo Credit  

Okihiki Festival in May 2007 exhibiting wood to build the next shrine.

The Okihiki Festival is held in the spring over two consecutive years and involves people from surrounding towns dragging huge wooden logs through the streets of Ise to Naikū and Gekū.

Tanka poem based on my study of Ise Shrine

japanese ise shrine

amaterasu shines in heaven

goddess of the sun

bringing crops ripe for harvest

feeds all the hungry people



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