Welcome to Ise Jingu

May 26, 2021Blog, Culture, Shinto

Welcome to Ise Jingu

In the beginning there was a beautiful star, which shines her life-giving rays of hope upon all living creatures of Mother Earth.

In Japan, the Sun Goddess Amaterasu is regarded as the main Shinto Deity, and according to Japanese mythology, the Japanese Imperial family is the direct descendant of Amaterasu.

Having most recently visited the most venerable sanctuary in Japan, Ise Jingu (jingu = shrine), one was struck by the majesty and deep sense of the ancient exuding from this incredible network of shrines.

Ancient Tree at Ise Jingu

Indeed Ise Shrine is considered to be the most solemn sanctuary in Japan.

The main Shinto shrine at Ise Jingu is Kotai Jingu and is dedicated to Amaterasu-Omikami, the ancestral kami (Shinto deity) of the Imperial family.

She was enshrined about 2,000 years ago and is revered as the guardian of Japan.

Truly, Ise Jingu is revered by the Japanese as the “Soul of Japan”, and as one walked these hallowed ground, also felt so very deeply that this is true.

Ise Jingu at Sunrise

This incredible complex of shines is roughly the same size as the Center of Paris and includes 125 jinja, and more than1,500 rituals are conducted every year to pray for the prosperity of the Imperial family, peace upon the world, and a bountiful harvest.

For most overseas visitors, Ise Jingu is not on the list of sites to see, which is most unfortunate, as the depth of the Japanese soul can be felt at Ise Jingu, and all should make the pilgrimage to experience the majesty and dignity of this incredible labyrinth of historic shrines.

Ise Jingu Map

While wandering the sacred grounds of Ise Jingu, one thought about humanity and the very most important thing for all, our shared Sun.

Indeed, as the Sun Goddess Amaterasu shines equally upon all living creatures of Mother Earth, and it is even more so now important to remind oneself of that which unites, not the differences which divide.

Humanity United Through Our Commonality

Bonus: This smart crow was very playful.