Winter Trip: Day 3 of 5 The Famous and Revered Shines of Ise (伊勢)

Dec. 26, 05

Winter Trip: Day 3 of 5 The Famous and Revered Shines of Ise (伊勢)

The Outer Shrine, thats all you get to see for a 1 hour 34 min train ride! (I was not allowed to take this picture, did not see the no photography sign...)

The fastest train to go from Nagoya to Ise was the “Mie” rapid train. The first train only leaves Nagoya at around 9 am so that was the train I took. It took 1 hour and 34 minutes to get there. It was not even an electrified train, it ran on diesel I think so the ride felt like a bus on rails. Because the train partially uses the tracks of another railway, I had to pay an extra fee of 430 yen.

Ise is a small town, when you get out of the station, it looks really disappointing because there is not much development or any good looking buildings near the station. Even the station was pretty empty.

I choose to visit Ise because according to guides on the Internet the shrines here are “spectacular” and “worth visiting”. There are two shrines in Ise, the Outer Shrine which is just a 15 min walk from the station and the Inner Shrine, which is a 15-20 min and expensive bus ride away (410 yen one way).

According to the tourist information brochure…..the at the Inner Shrine, the god of the Imperial Family is enshrined there, name of this ancestral god is Amaterasu Omikami. She is the deity of the Japanese people and she left the Imperial Palace about 2000 years ago in the era of Emperor Sujin, and was enshrined here at the Isuzu River after she had visited many places in Japan.

Outer Shrine information from the brochure:

“Toyouke Omikama is enshrined here at the Outer Shrine. She was called from the Tanba region to the Yamadahara region of the Watarai by order of the Amaterasu Omikami about 1500 years ago. She is the god to offer the sacred food to Amaterasu Omikami and is also the god who protects all industries that support our life.”

The Outer Shrine is located in a park just like how the Meiji Shrine is located in a park in Tokyo. The disappointing thing about coming here was that you could not actually go inside the shrine. They don’t let people past the outer gate of the shrine, so all you could see was a just some big wooden building at the back. Also they didn’t allow any photographs of the gate or of the shrine which was blocked off by the gate.

The same situation was at the Inner Shrine, except it is located on the top of a hill which you have to walk up the stairs.

There were many Japanese people coming to these shrines as a pilgrimage I think. Lots of old people and tour groups. They just prayed at the gate and left.

When you leave the Inner Shrine, you walk into a re-created old Japan Edo-era shopping arcade which was probably designed to suck money out of tourists.

I was disappointed with coming here, because it took a long time to get here and once I got here all I saw were the outsides of very plain looking wooden shrine buildings. I could have seen this anywhere. Plus it was very cold and the winds were strong. I guess since I am not Japanese I don’t understand the significance of these two shrines.


kinkinsoba said...

Yea, once you see one shrine, you're pretty much seen all of them.