Into mysterious Japan

Located in the southeast area of Mie Prefecture, Ise Shima sits at about the center of Japan. The 42nd G7 Summit held here in 2016 attracted attention worldwide. Mie's rich blessings of nature and culture include 2,000-year-old Ise Jingu, whose myths are still told to this day, and the mystic beauty of its rias coastline and peninsula that extends out into the Pacific Ocean. Let us guide you through a trip to see history, tradition and beautiful nature of Ise Shima. See the original scenery watched over by Kami(Shinto-deity) and goddesses of Japan and the mystery imbedded herein.

Ise Jingu
It is said travel originated as pilgrimage for Japanese people. Kumano Pilgrimage was popular among Heian nobles about 1,000 years ago. During its peak in the Edo Period(1603-1868) of the total population of 30 million, 5 million people visited Ise Jingu. Ise Pilgrimage became very popular among commoners during the Edo Period.

Ise Jingu
Ise Jingu

Ujibashi Bridge is known as the bridge that connects everyday world to the sacred world of Kami. There are Torii gateways on both ends of the bridge. It is noted in the oldest official record of Japanese history, Nihon Shoki, a legend of Yamatohime-no-mikoto, a daughter of the 11th Emperor, Suinin, who is said to have established Ise Jingu. The legend tells of Yamatohime-no-mikoto washing a hem of one of the twelve-layered ceremonial robes that became dirty in the water of Isuzugawa River.

Embraced in Mystery and Sublimity
Sunlight filtering through trees shines onto the surface of the clear stream of Isuzugawa River creating dreamy scenery of flickering light in the forest. The quiet murmur of the stream fills the air to create sublime atmosphere.Ise Jingu features giant trees aged over 500 years and is overflowing with visitors that come to pray for 2,000 years.Visitors feel the sublimity of a sanctuary.

Ise Jingu
Ise Jingu

Mysteries of Myths
It is said travel originated as pilgrimage for Japanese people. Kumano Pilgrimage was Sun deity, Amaterasu Omikami, is defined as the universal tutelary deity to Japanese people. The universal tutelary deity is worshipped by all Japanese people. It is here at Ise Jingu Shrine that Amaterasu Omikami is enshrined, and the official name is simply Jingu. The deity is also the ancestor of the Imperial Family, and therefore, is closely linked to the Imperial Family from olden days. According to the myth, when Amaterasu's grandson descended to earth, he granted Emperor Jimmu one of the three sacred treasures, the Yatano-kagami(mirror).Since then the mirror became the object of worship and symbolizes imperial succession. The mirror is now kept in a divine place of Ise Jingu. This sacred treasure is inherited from the time of Amaterasu Omikami, the ancestor worshipped as a deity; and to this day, the mirror has an especially important meaning to Japanese people and in the history of Japan.

Sun deity, Amaterasu Omikami
Amaterasu Omikami is a sun deity that brightly lights the world. In Nihon Shoki, the oldest book of history in Japan, it describes how the she hid herself in a deep cave in fear of her younger brother who had a violent personality. This caused a solar eclipse and filled the world with misfortunes and diseases. This is the myth of Iwato-gakure(the hiding of Amaterasu Omikami in the heavenly rock cave). In the effort to lure Amatrasu Omikami out of the cave, about 8 million troubled deity created a huge mirror, and this is the root of the Yatano-kagami. It is said that when Amaterasu Omikami came out of the cave, the world was lit with bright light. Today, there is spring water in the national park approximately 10 km from Ise Jingu, and this is said to be the Amano-Iwato(the cave of sun deity or heavenly rock cave). Such mystique may be the reason many people still worship at Ise Jingu today.

Top of page