Oise Mairi (Pilgrimage to Ise)

In the past, people made pilgrimages to Ise with aspiration and admiration. It was full of wishes for blessings from deities as well as longings for experience of Ise cultures.

Ise Jingu②Ise City

Ise Jingu

Ise Jingu, familiarly known as “Oise-san” and also stated as “the spiritual home of the Japanese people,” enshrines the ancestral kami – a type of deity - of the Imperial Family. 

Ise Jingu③Ise City

Ise Jingu①Ise City

Its official name is “Jingu,” comprising 125 shrines including the two main  sanctuaries of Naiku and Geku.

Naiku①Ise City

Naiku

The deity enshrined at Ise Jingu’s Naiku is Amaterasu-Omikami, who stands as kami – a type of deity – of the Sun and is worshipped as the guardian of the Japanese people.

Naiku②Ise City

Naiku③Ise City

For more than 2,000 years, Naiku has been a special place for the Japanese people since its enshrinement.     

Geku①Ise City

Geku

The deity enshrined at Ise Jingu’s Geku is Toyo’uke-no-Omikami, who offers food to Amaterasu-Omikami.

Geku②Ise City

Geku③Ise City

At Geku, “Higoto-Asayu-Omikesai,” a ritual to offer food to the kami of Jingu, is performed twice a day – in the morning and evening – for 1,500 years since its establishment.     

Kannamesai①Ise City

Kannamesai

This is the most important ritual among the 1,500 yearly rituals in Ise Jingu.

Kannamesai②Ise City

Newly harvested cereals in the year are offered first to Amaterasu-Omikami, to extend gratitude for harvests.

Shikinen Sengu①Ise City

Shikinen Sengu

Every twenty years, the kami of Ise Jingu is transferred to a newly constructed divine palace in a ritual called the Shikinen Sengu; the greatest ritual of Ise Jingu to pray for the perpetual happiness of the kami, the nation, and the people.

Shikinen Sengu②Ise City

The buildings are reconstructed as well as the sacred apparel and furnishings, and divine treasures are remade to the exact same appearance as before to preserve the state of “Tokowaka (everlasting freshness)” in the “Dai-Kannamesai” ritual. This is the Shikinen Sengu.

Folk Events of IseIse City

Folk Events of Ise

Powers of local people are indispensable for holding a number of ceremonies through eight years in advance of the Shikinen Sengu. “Okihiki” – carry wood for building sanctuaries to Jingu – and “Oshiraishimochi” – dedicate pure white stones gathered at the  riverbeds of Miyagawa River, which flows through Ise City. The Shikinen Sengu, having been repeated for 1,300 years, is the ritual which symbolizes the pride of people of Ise.

Ise OnshiIse City

Ise Onshi

During the era when the public transportation was undeveloped, all who wished to make a pilgrimage could not visit Ise Jingu. Therefore, volunteers shared the expense for a pilgrimage and sent their representative to Ise. The priests, called Ise Onshi, provided  pilgrims with lodging, guidance and kagura (sacred music and dance) for them, which associated common people with Jingu. Onshi also distributed good luck charm tablets and calendars all over Japan. Those activities by Onshi led to a boom of “Okage Mairi,” which  means pilgrimages to extend thanks for the deities’ blessings.

FutamiuraIse City

Futami Okitama Shrine

Travelers making their way to Ise Jingu would gather at Futamiura to purify themselves in the ocean waters before completing their pilgrimages. This traditional way of purification has been inherited as “Hama-Sangu” to Futami Okitama Shrine. The Meoto Iwa, which makes the Futamiura landscape even more divine, also forms a trii for those worshipping the morning sun and a spirit stone of Sarutahiko-no-Okami that lies below the surface of the bay.

KongoshojiIse City

Kongoshoji

A Buddhist temple called Kongoshoji lies to the northeast of Ise Jingu, which stands guard protecting the shrine from the evil. It was once a custom among pilgrims to visit the temple after they prayed at the shrine. The scarlet-painted main hall and arched bridge stand in vivid yet dignified contrast to the green of the surrounding trees. Along the path to Okunoin are standing stupas up to 8 meters tall, which are shaping a view of a spiritual site.

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