This Monday, February 24th, was my first full day in Ise, and it was a day of introductions and history. In the morning, Professor Ikeda picked us up at the dorm to show us the way to campus in general and the opening ceremony of the “Ise and Japan” study program in particular. Along the way, she pointed out landmarks and possible points of interest to us.
The gate through which we entered campus (pictured above) was kind of the first sightseeing element of the day. The wooden sign roughly translates to “shrine library”, and indeed the way passes by that building and a museum on Shinto faith and history before leading to the general campus area.
The opening ceremony consisted mainly of introductions of staff and participants, and a speech on the university’s history from Professor Kiyoshi, the university’s president. I’d need more time with the books we received to give details here, but Kogakkan University can look back on a tradition starting in 1882, although it wasn’t formally a university at that point. By the way, the view from the room was fantastic, I could even see Ise Bay in the background. The sports field in the foreground belongs to a high school associated with the university.
As we left the building, we came across a large group of students practicing a dance routine, and had the opportunity to watch and take photos before starting the campus tour.
The “記念館” (memorial hall) is a beautiful building in traditional Japanese style.
Other traditional style buildings on campus are the martial arts hall, and the ceremony building for the education of future Shinto priests. Aside from documents, photos, and other artifacts from the university’s past, the memorial hall also contains the replica of a Kyoto tea house, which might be used for a tea ceremony scheduled for Friday.
The museum on Shinto faith and history is likely worth another visit, but getting good pictures was hard, because most exhibits are understandably placed behind glass, like this model showing a historic festival scene.
I really need to go to sleep soon, and I don’t have many photos from the rest of the day anyway, so here’s the short version of afternoon and evening: After a visit at a shrine in a beautiful and surprisingly green forest next to the university we had two lessons on ancient and modern history of Ise, which sadly went a little above my Japanese skills. In the evening we had a welcome party with representatives of Ise city and program staff.