JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.


Most viewed - Ise 伊勢市
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Meoto-Iwa Wedded Rocks off the coast of Futami-cho, Ise city, Mie Prefecture. 夫婦岩1010 views
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The shrine is dedicated to Sarutahiko and Ukano-mitama. Sarutahiko is a god which serves as a pathfinder guide. Deities for land/sea transportation safety. 二見440 views
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Futami Okitama Shrine does not have a main hall (Honden) like most other shrines. It worships the Okitama Sacred Stone in the ocean beyond the Wedded Rocks. 二見興玉神社408 views
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The Wedded Rocks are part of Futami Okitama Shrine known for frog sculptures. 二見興玉神社373 views
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The Wedded Rocks are actually a type of torii gate for worshipping the Okitama Sacred Stone in the ocean.340 views1 comments
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Map of Ise Jingu's Naiku Shrine. First you cross Uji Bridge.304 views
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Five ropes are being positioned and made taut.292 views
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Wedded Rocks with a new rope. Japan has numerous other Wedded Rocks and stones, but this is by far the most famous.289 views
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Map of Naiku at Ise Jingu Shrine and adjacent area.288 views
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All the while, the cheering section chants and wave streamers.287 views
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Replacing the rope for the Wedded Rocks, Mie Pref.271 views
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The frog is Sarutahiko's messenger. Frog is called "kaeru" in Japanese, which is a homonym for the another word meaning "return home." If you travel a lot, pray here for a safe return. 夫婦岩265 views
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Close up map of Naiku. An adjacent plot next the shrine is for the next rebuilding of the shrine. The current, 20-year-old Naiku shrine is on an adjacent plot of land.257 views It takes 8 years to rebuild the Naiku shrine. So 12 years from now, they will start the rebuilding process all over again. Numerous ceremonies are held for this rebuilding, but only a few of them can be seen by the public.
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The ropes are now completely cut, breaking the bond between the two rocks.252 views
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The job is finished.243 views
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The torii on the larger rock is quite small. The sacred rope is replaced three times a year on May 5, September 5, and at the end of December.239 views
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The rope installers return to shore.233 views
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Men carry spanking-new shimenawa ropes to the rocks.229 views
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The men begin to cut off the old rope. Those sharp sickles soon made short work of the old sacred ropes which were brought ashore in small pieces.227 views
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The new ropes are strung across the two rocks. A small rope tied to the end of the large rope is used to pull the large rope up the rock.225 views
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Ise Jingu Shrine's Naiku (Inner Shrine) is the main and most popular shrine at Ise. The shrine is rebuilt every 20 years and 2013 will mark the completion of the new shrine to replace the old one built in 1993.222 views
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5月5日、9月5日と12月下旬には夫婦岩の大注連縄の張り替え神事が行われる。これらの写真は5月5日に撮影された。214 views
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The ceremony attracts a large crowd.204 views
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The shimenawa rope actually consists of five smaller ropes. They cut the ropes one by one.202 views
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The shimenawa rope bonding the Wedded Rocks is replaced three times a year. May 5, when these photos were taken, is one of the days when they replace the rope. First, they gathered at the shrine at 10 am for a 30-min. prayer ceremony.196 views
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Ise Jingu shrine maidens look the same as any other shrine maidens. They are likely college students hired just for New Year's to sell goods.194 views
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Pieces of the old rope. Anyone could take home the pieces of old sacred rope if they wanted.189 views
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Lantern and sunset at Futami Okitama Shrine188 views
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Making sure that the rope is aligned and positioned correctly.173 views
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One by one, the men carefully positioned the new sacred ropes on the two Rocks. All the while, young children and young men are chanting on the shore.171 views
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Sunset at Futami Okitama Shrine. In the old days when traveling was a hazardous undertaking in Japan, pilgrims who traveled to worship at the Ise Grand Shrines prayed here for a safe return home.168 views
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The second rope is installed.163 views
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The old rope is taken away.153 views
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The first rope is wound around both rocks.153 views
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The bottleneck at Naiku was this little torii which most people wanted to walk through at the top of the steps. People like me who didn't have time opted to go up the steps on the right side in no time. 152 views
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Entering Geku shrine at Ise.149 views
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About 300-400 meters to the Naiku shrine, it got congested. It took about an hour to reach the foot of the steps going up to the shrine.145 views
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Look how small the offertory box is at Ise Jingu's Naiku. The one at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo is like half the size of a football field. Of course, Ise Jingu just doesn't have the space for it.140 views
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I wondered how much I should donate for this sake. I just dropped a 100 yen coin and probably got 20 yen worth of sake. At Atsuta Shrine (one of Japan's Big Three shrines) in Nagoya, they have a nice big hall where they serve hot tea and sweets for 140 viewsNothing like that here.
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Naiku shrine and torii are in sight at the top of the steps ahead. We were told that it would take more than an hour just to get up these steps. However, we could walk up the steps quickly on the right edge of the steps.134 views
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Ise manhole depicting Ise Jingu pilgrims. Mie Pref.123 views
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Collecting coins at Taka-no-miya Shrine 多賀宮.120 views
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Look how small the offertory box is at Geku.119 views
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Roof horns at Ise Jingu's Naiku.119 views
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It takes 8 years to rebuild the Naiku shrine. So 12 years from now, they will start the rebuilding process all over again. Numerous ceremonies are held for this rebuilding, but only a few of them can be seen by the public.119 views
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High walls prevent us from seeing the sacred shrine buildings of Naiku. Photography is not allowed inside these walls so don't try to use a long pole with a camera attached to take pictures. There are guards everywhere. 116 views
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Geku Outer Shrine at Ise Jingu.113 views
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Collecting coins.112 views
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Uji Bridge is made of hinoki cypress wood. The bridge columns are made of keyaki.103 views
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Ise-shi Station platform upon arrival on Jan. 1, 2013. Ise Jingu's Geku Outer Shrine is a short walk from this station.97 views
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Torii gate at Uji Bridge. Very crowded with New Year's worshippers going for hatsumode prayers.83 views
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Ise-shi Station with kadomatsu New Year's decorations.81 views
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We could easily proceed from Uji Bridge to this Daini (Second) torii. So far so good.78 views
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People behind me.78 views
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On the steps going up to Naiku shrine. This was where it got ridiculous. Literally a snail's pace.76 views
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Ise Jingu Shrine's Naiku is officially named, "Kotaijingu" (皇大神宮). It worships Amaterasu Omikami 天照坐皇大御神, the ancestor of the Imperial Family and the tutelary kami of the Japanese people. Naiku was founded 2000 years a74 views
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This is the steps leading to the new Naiku shrine that will be completed this fall 2013. The shrine buildings are already close to completion, but they are covered up.74 views
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Naiku torii at the top of the steps.74 views
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The people who went up the right edge of the steps didn't go through the torii and could only pray at a temporary, off-center position under the slim roof seen here on the right of the thatched-roof gate. 73 views
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Small offertory box.73 views
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We didn't get to go through the torii, but it wasn't worth the wait. They never explained the difference between staying in the middle of the steps and going up on the right edge.72 views
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Kaguraden hall for sacred dances and prayers. 内宮神楽殿72 views
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Crossing Uji Bridge on the way back.72 views
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Oharai-machi shopping street outside Naiku entrance. Bus stop for the train stations and Geku is near here.72 views
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My video of Ise Jingu Naiku on Jan. 1, 2013.72 views
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The other end of Uji Bridge also has a torii gate.71 views
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Horse stable.71 views
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Bamboo strips protect the trees.71 views
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After going through the torii, they could pray at this center position under this thatched-roof gate in front of the shrine.71 views
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Uji Bridge showing its 20-year age.71 views
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Crossing Uji Bridge, a little over 100 meters long. 宇治橋70 views
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Uji Bridge goes over Isuzu River. 五十鈴川70 views
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Another place to purify yourself on the banks of Isuzu River at this place called the Mitarashi. 五十鈴川と御手洗場70 views
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Dip your hands here in Isuzu River. Auto maker Isuzu was named after this crystal-clear river. 五十鈴川と御手洗場70 views
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Lucky bags.70 views
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Colorful bus at Ise.69 views
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A guard watching over the crowd crossing Uji Bridge.69 views
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Lot of people here, but it's still not as crowded as Meiji Shrine in Tokyo.69 views
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I could see the heatwaves from the people's bodies. Still inching forward.69 views
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The scene from the top of the steps. People on the right are aiming for the torii. People on the left are shooting up the steps in no time.69 views
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Naiku's bottleneck. These people took at least an hour to climb up the steps to go through this little torii. So it must've taken them at least 2 hours to get here from Uji Bridge. Normally it's a 10-15 min. walk.69 views
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Brand new wooden torii.69 views
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Right outside the entrance Naiku is a long shopping street called Oharai-machi, mainly food stalls. it leads to a parking lot. Very crowded on New Year's Day.69 views
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White rocks to be placed at Ise Jingu Shrine for the rebulding.68 views
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Place to dispose of old decorations bought from the shrine.68 views
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Before praying at the shrine, you're supposed to purify yourself. Wash your hands and rinse your mouth here. Use the ladle to pour water into your hand, then sip the water from your hand. Don't sip the water directly from the ladle. 手水舎68 views
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Getting closer to the bottom of the steps leading up to the Naiku shrine.68 views
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Sanshuden rest house68 views
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Taka-no-miya Shrine 多賀宮67 views
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Water fountain where you wash your hands and rinse your mouth for purification. 手水舎67 views
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The first torii or Daiichi torii.67 views
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The great thing for them is that they need not provide any guarantee that your hopes, dreams, and prayers will come true for you. No such thing as a product warranty nor money-back guarantee.67 views
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Dried fish.67 views
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Geku is Ise Jingu's Outer Shrine (officially named "Toyouke Daijingu"). It is one of the two main shrines of Ise Jingu. Geku worships the god Toyouke Omikami, who is responsible for the food of Amaterasu Omikami worshipped at Naiku.66 views
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Taka-no-miya Shrine 多賀宮66 views
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Still walking at a good pace.66 views
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At the bottom of the steps going up to the shrine.66 views
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Imagine providing a service or product for which you need not worry about complaints, defects, malfunctions, errors, or failures. And the customer base is guaranteed forever. 66 views
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People still streaming toward Naiku shrine passing through the second torii.66 views
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Uji Bridge on the way back.66 views
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Barrels of sake as offerings.65 views
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THe rest house had a view of a Noh stage.65 views
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Isuzu River as seen from Uji Bridge. Water from this river is used in the shrine's ceremonies and rituals.65 views
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Ise Tourist Information across from the Geku entrance. Very helpful.64 views
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Uji Bridge is also rebuilt every 20 years.64 views
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There was a money box under both the thatched roof and under the slim roof structure next to it. Either way, you can still pray at the shrine. Not a big deal if you don't go through the torii or don't pray from the center spot under the thatched64 viewsIt really looked like the people going up on the right edge were exiting without praying at the shrine. Not so. They could also pray at the shrine, but at an off-center position.
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This is all we can see of the main shrine building called the Shoden (正殿), the home of Amaterasu. The design of the shrine buildings are especially beautiful and awe-inspiring. Too bad we can't see it. There are photographs (especially by Yoshio 64 views
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Snake souvenirs for sale. Major Shinto shrines make much of their income during New Year's.64 views
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Bus stop for Naiku Inner Shrine. This is near Ise-shi Station.63 views
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Much more popular than sake was amazake (sweet sake). This line was too long for me so I skipped it.63 views
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Before praying at the shrine, you're supposed to purify yourself. Wash your hands and rinse your mouth here. Use the ladle to pour water into your hand, then sip the water from your hand. Don't sip the water directly from the ladle. 手水舎62 views
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Tsuchi-no-miya Shrine 土宮62 views
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After crossing Uji Bridge, it is a gravel path to the shrine.62 views
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Way back.62 views
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Shrine gift shop for amulets etc. Make no doubt, religion in Japan is very big business. They are in the business of selling hopes, dreams, prayers, ceremonies, and amulets. 62 views
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They served free green tea.62 views
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Where the people coming and going converge at Ise Jingu's Naiku.62 views
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After praying at Geku, most people also visit three nearby affiliate shrines: Kaze-no-miya, Tsuchi-no-miya, and Taka-no-miya. This is Kaze-no-miya Shrine. 風宮61 views
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Kaze-no-miya Shrine is dedicated to the gods of wind and rain, essential for farming. 風宮61 views
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Tsuchi-no-miya Shrine 土宮61 views
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Inside Sanshuden rest house, a nice warm place to rest.61 views
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Water fountain where you wash your hands and rinse your mouth for purification. 手水舎60 views
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Sando path to Geku.60 views
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Shrine gift shop for amulets etc. Make no doubt, religion in Japan is very big business. They are in the business of selling hopes, dreams, prayers, ceremonies, and amulets. 60 views
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The great thing for them is that they need not provide any guarantee that your hopes, dreams, and prayers will come true for you. No such thing as a product warranty nor money-back guarantee.60 views
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Tsuchi-no-miya Shrine worships the god in charge of the land around Geku. 土宮60 views
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Outdoor stage at Sengu-kan.60 views
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Bus with motif promoting Ise. Going to worship at Ise Jingu is called "Ise-mairi."60 views
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Side torii gate at Naiku.60 views
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Sando path from Ise-shi Station to Ise Jingu Shrine's Geku Outer Shrine. A short walk. You're supposed to visit Geku before Naiku.59 views
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A sip of sake at this booth.59 views
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Geku Outer Shrine59 views
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Long line to pray at Taka-no-miya Shrine. "Taka" literally means "many felicitations." 多賀宮59 views
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Sengu-kan Museum includes a scale model of the Geku shrine as well as a life-size facade of the main shrine building. Don't miss this museum. 59 views
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Inside the bus going to Naiku from Ise-shi Station.59 views
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A sip of sake at this booth. I saw no indications of a fee for this sake, but there was a donation tray right there.59 views
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I noticed that Geku was much less crowded than Naiku and apparently most people visit Naiku only. Lantern along the path to Geku.58 views
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Path to Geku. 第一鳥居口参道58 views
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The first or Daiichi torii gate.58 views
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Amulets forsale.58 views
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Taka-no-miya Shrine 多賀宮58 views
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Taka-no-miya Shrine, old and new. 多賀宮.58 views
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Old ryokan inn.57 views
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The shrine is rebuilt every 20 years and 2013 will mark the completion of the new shrine to replace the old one built in 1993. It takes 8 years to rebuild the Naiku shrine. So 12 years from now, they will start the rebuilding process all over again.57 views
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A new museum called Sengu-kan to commemorate the shrine's rebuilding for the 62nd time (since over 1,200 years ago).57 views
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Geku entrance. Toyouke Omikami is also the god for food, clothing, and shelter. Geku was founded about 1,500 years ago.56 views
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Adjacent pond.56 views
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Ise-shi Station. 伊勢市駅56 views
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The new Geku Outer Shrine to be unveiled in Oct. 2013.55 views
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Kaze-no-miya Shrine 風宮55 views
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Collecting coins at Taka-no-miya Shrine 多賀宮.55 views
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Magatama Pond next to Sengu-kan.55 views
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Kaze-no-miya Shrine 風宮54 views
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They are renovating the space in front of Ise-shi Station.53 views
 
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