Saturday, December 6, 2008

day 339 - The Grand Shrine of Ise

Big lantern at the entrance to Ise Jingu.
There has been a shrine on this site for 1500 years.

Expecting huge crowds we arrive early to see Geku, the Outer Shrine of Ise, the holiest Shinto shrine.

But the shrine we see won't be the 5th C. version. An exact replica of the entire structure is built every 20 years, and the new one is consecrated. The timber from the old version is used to construct a new torii or donated to other shrines for repair work throughout the country. The structure pictured here was just a temporary one, but the techniques employed on the real shrine are similar - no screws or glue, just well-mitred interlocking joints and wooden dowels.

You're not supposed to take photos. I try to sneak a shot of Lyn entering.
I think that man-of-the-cloth is onto us...

Not being of the Shinto faith, we're not invited in, although there's no charge to stroll around the park-like grounds studded with ancient sugi - and everyone is very friendly.

This may be as close as we'll get to Ise-Jingu. This version was built in 1993 at a cost 5 billion Yen +. It will be replaced in five years.

At the end of our self-conducted tour we sneak one more image through the bushes of the gilded shrine which will be dismantled in 2013...

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