Ise Shrine

Location: Ise, Mie Prefecture   Map

Constructed: 1st century AD

Dedicated: goddess Amaterasu-ōmikami

Ise Shrine


Description of Ise Shrine

Ise Shrine is a religious complex in Ise, Mie Prefecture in Japan. It was constructed in first century and dedicated to goddess Amaterasu-ōmikami. The Shrine of Ise (伊 勢 神宮), also known as the Great Shrine of Ise (伊 勢 大 神宮) And officially as The Sanctuary (神宮), Is the most important Shintō shrine in Japan. It is considered the most sacred place of this religion. It is located in the city of Ise, in the center of the prefecture of Mie, in the central-southern region of the country. The area in which the sanctuary is located is part of the Ise-Shima National Park, which also includes other sacred and historical sites, such as Meoto Iwa and Saiku (imperial residence during the Heian era). The Sanctuary is mentioned in the two oldest books of Japan, the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki, written at the beginning of the 8th century, in which it is mentioned that the legendary foundation of the Sanctuary was made in the year by Princess Yamatohime-no-mikoto, daughter of Emperor Suinin.


In the Sanctuary of Ise there is also a forest with sacred trees and different areas where products are made that are used as sacred offerings: a rice field, a saline, an orchard, traditional silk factories, hemp and pottery, drying sites fish, etc. It also has some cultural areas such as a library and three museums, as well as other annexed buildings. Within the Sanctuary there is a large number of daily religious ceremonies based on agricultural cycles, indispensable in the traditional Japanese economy. These activities are organized by an ecclesiastical hierarchy that is in charge of managing the sacred elements that are used as offerings: water, fire, food, silk, wood, music and dance, etc. Every year, believers from all over the country They go on a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary, a fact known as O-Ise-Mairi, since, according to tradition, Shintō practitioners must go to the sanctuary at least once in their life. First they do it to the Gekū to later make a pilgrimage to the Naikū, in spite of the fact that this sector is accessible only on special occasions. The main sanctuaries of each complex are not accessible to the public and can only be seen at a distance, from behind some fences.