Ise

Ever since I started working on my novel again blogging has taken a hit.  However, now that I finished it (more on that later), I should be updating this more.

A couple of weeks ago I got invited to go to Ise.  Ise is in the Mie prefecture, to the east of Osaka by around an hour and a half by train.

Ise is famous for Ise Shrine.  It is considered extremely important in the Shinto religion. It is dedicated to Amaterasu, the Goddess of the Sun.   The place is divided into two area:  Geku, the Outer Shrine and Naiku, the Inner Shrine.  Because it is a sacred area, visitors aren’t even allowed to explore the insides of the shrine but just the area outside of it.  Every 20 years, the entire place is rebuilt as part of the Shinto belief of the death and renewal of nature—it’s actually going to be rebuilt later this year!

Despite not being able to go inside the shrines themselves, I still enjoyed the general vicinity of them. Geku was definitely more crowded as it was less wide than Naiku.  There were many places for people to pray and there was no shortage of people!

 

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The closest we'll ever get to a shrine.  Only the imperial Family is allowed inside.

The closest we’ll ever get to a shrine. Only the imperial Family is allowed inside.

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After Geku we took a bus ride to Naiku.  I really enjoyed the scenery of Naiku compared to Geku—everything just felt so peaceful.  The famous Uji Bridge that connects to the entrance of Naiku was breathtaking.  Here are some pictures of Naiku:

 

Uji Bridge, which connects you to Naiku

Uji Bridge, which connects you to Naiku

Crossing the bridge.

Crossing the bridge.

It was so peaceful!

It was so peaceful!

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We ran into a rooster.  Why? I have no idea.

We ran into a rooster. Why? I have no idea.

And here are pictures of the general area in Ise:

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I actually liked the lesser known shrines in the area because it was so quiet and less crowded!

I actually liked the lesser known shrines in the area because it was so quiet and less crowded!

Praying.

Praying.

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Retro Family Mart.

Retro Family Mart.

Ise udon, one of Ise's famous dishes.  It's udon soaked in soy-based sauce.  It was delicious!

Ise udon, one of Ise’s famous dishes. It’s udon soaked in soy-based sauce. It was delicious!

The shopping district.

The shopping district.

You might have noticed but there are little pictures of shrines or prayer areas.  That’s because in those areas, photography is prohibited.  Still, I thought it was worth it.  It was a fun day trip.  I wonder what the inside of the shrines look like?

Peek-a-boo.

Peek-a-boo.

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