Ise Grand Shrine

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Ise in Mie, Kansai, Honshu, Japan; eighth century, repeatedly rebuilt

Ise is the holiest shrine in Japan, dedicated to the Shinto sun goddess, Amaterasu-Omikami, a distant ancestor of the Japanese emperor’s family. The high priest at Ise is always a member of the imperial family, and the general public is kept away from the innermost parts.

The shrine is located in an extensive cypress forest called Ise Jingu. Walking through the forest and encountering fast-flowing streams is an important part of a pilgrim’s meditative worship. At the sanctuary there are many small shrines – more than 100 – but the principal one, in white Japanese ...

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