Geku, the “Outer Shrine” of Ise Jingu

Today (March 5) we went to 外宮 (Geku, “Outer Shrine”), the second major shrine of Ise Jingu. Geku is dedicated to 豊受大御神 (Toyouke-no-omikami), the goddess responsible for preparing food for Amaterasu-omikami, and of agriculture and food in general. All English sources I’ve seen until now emphasize the general part, but the Japanese around here usuallyContinue reading “Geku, the “Outer Shrine” of Ise Jingu”

The Married Rocks of Futami

The last sightseeing spot in Futami we went to yesterday (March 3) were the 夫婦岩 (Meotoiwa), or “Married Rocks”. These two rocks are the most famous part of 二見興玉神社 (Futami Okitama-jinja) shrine. While the teachers and leaflets here say that the big stone is the husband and the small one the wife, a Japanese coupleContinue reading “The Married Rocks of Futami”

Salt Making Shrine

Yesterday, March 3, we went to 二見 (Futami) in the afternoon. Futami is a part of Ise directly on the seashore, and our first stop there was a place that directly depends on sea water: 御塩殿神社 (Mishiodono-jinja), which literally translates to “Shrine of the hall of the honored salt”. This shrine is responsible for makingContinue reading “Salt Making Shrine”

Hina-matsuri in Ise

Today, March 3, is the day of ひな祭り (Hina-matsuri, doll festival) in Japan. Families with daughters traditionally display dolls depicting a Heian era imperial court. In traditional belief, doing so is considered a prayer for the daughter’s general safety, health, and a good marriage. During the visit at the Itsukinomiya Hall for Historical Experience onContinue reading “Hina-matsuri in Ise”

Tea Ceremony at Kogakkan University

Today (Friday, February 28) I had the honor of participating in a tea ceremony held for the “Ise and Japan” study program. After lunch break, our group went to the Kogakkan University Memorial Hall, where the university’s tea room is located. Before the actual ceremony, the professor who leads the tea ceremony club gave usContinue reading “Tea Ceremony at Kogakkan University”

Buddhist Temple and Shinto Goddess

Rain kind of put a damper on our visit to 朝熊山 (Asamayama) this afternoon (Thursday, February 27), but I nonetheless have many interesting things to write about, mainly related to the connection between Shinto and Buddhism in Japan. The rain had one advantage, though: It made everything look rather mysterious. 😉 The building above isContinue reading “Buddhist Temple and Shinto Goddess”

Naiku — The Inner Shrine

This afternoon (Wednesday, February 26) it was time for our first field trip, and we started out big with visiting 内宮 (“Naiku”), the “Inner Shrine”. Dedicated to Amaterasu-omikami, the sun goddess, the Inner Shrine is the most important part of the Ise Jingu and the holiest place of Shinto faith. Historically, however, there was someContinue reading “Naiku — The Inner Shrine”

Ise — An Ancient Travel Destination

This morning (Tuesday, February 25) we had a lesson on Ise and its administration, with a focus on tourism. With approximately 132,000 inhabitants, Ise is about one fifth the size of my hometown Dortmund, and one tenth the size of Sendai, where most of my experience with life in Japan comes from. It’s not surprisingContinue reading “Ise — An Ancient Travel Destination”