About Ise Jingu

Concerning Ise Jingu

Ise Jingu is called "Oise-san" by the locals, and has long been known as the home of the Japanese spirit. Shinto shrines are sometimes referred to as "jinja", and sometimes as "jingu". Jingu are associated with the imperial family. Ise Jingu (Ise Jingu), is where Amaterasu Ookami is enshrined. Moreover, Ise Jingu is not just one shrine but 125 shrines, museums, and more, including Koutai Shrine at the Inner Shrine, and Toyokedai Shrine at the Outer Shrine.

The Difference Between Temples and Shrines

Features of Shrines

Subject of Worship: Japanese Shinto
What it Looks Like: There are torii (usually orange gates), shisa (protective lion statues) and koma dogs (guardian dog statues). Gods are not represented by idols.
How to worship: Clapping your hands before prayer

Features of Temples

Subject of Worship: Buddhism
What it Looks Like: There is a statue of Buddha without torii or shisa. Concrete Buddha statues.
How to worship: to join hands without clapping before prayer

Why Ise Jingu Is so Special

Ise Jingu's Special Points
It's a sacred place where you can feel the origins of Japan. For 2000 years, Ise has been a place to harmonize with nature. It's very important to Shinto, which is the traditional religion of Japan. There were many delays and suspendings before the 7th century, but the building has been preserved eternally by rebuilding it every twenty years. Even from the days before railways and cars, Ise Jingu has been a popular tourist attraction, receiving 4 million tourists a year.

Ise Jingu's History

Over 2,000 years ago, legend has it that Amaterasu Ookami, who is said to be the ancestor of the imperial family, was traveling from Nara while looking for a place to have as a permanent residence. She was satisfied to find Ise. Since the 7th century, the divine building of Kataijingu (Naiku) has been rebuilt every 20 years. After the 17th century, it was opened to the general public, and the system of Ise Kou, a group that collected funds and chose people to travel to Ise decided by lottery, became popular and gathered worshippers from all over Japan. In the 19th century, Ise Jingu officially became the center of Shinto. These days, it gets more than 8 million tourists annually.

Etiquette for Visiting Ise Jingu

Rinsing Your Hands at the Purification Fountain

Ise Jingu is a sacred place, so we first have to cleanse ourselves at the purification fountain. This is a practice to cleanse your heart and soul before facing the gods. ① Rinse your left hand. ② Hold the ladle with your clean left hand and rinse your right hand. ③ Once again hold the ladle with your right hand and rinse your mouth with water you pour into your left hand. ④ Finally, empty any remaining water in the ladle and put it back.

How to Pray to the Gods

Worshiping at the shrine is done like so: ""two bows, two claps, one bow"". ① Bow deeply twice. ② Align both hands, with your right hand slightly lower. ③ Clap twice. ④ Give one deep, final bow. Both the Inner and Outer Shrines are great places to worship. Let the gods know how grateful you are.


1 Ise Shi Station

Ise Shi Station

Ise Shi Station, Starting Points for the JR and Kintetsu Lines

2 Outer Shrine

Outer Shrine

From the JR side exit it's a 7 minute walk. Visit the Outer Shrine before the Inner Shrine

3 Ise Shi Station

Inner Shrine

An Ise Visit's Main Point From the Outer Shrine, going by bus takes 20 minutes.

4 Oharai Cho and Okage Yokocho

Oharai Cho and Okage Yokocho

Outside the gates of the Inner Shrine, get some famous gourmet foods and souvenirs!


Ise's "CAN Bus" is so handy when visiting!

We also really recommend the ""CAN Bus"" when visiting Toba, too. A bus comes once or twice every hour. They're easy to find as they're blue. If you buy a ""Michikusa Ticket"", you can ride the ""CAN Bus"" as many times as you want. You can even take the bus that runs from the Outer to Inner Shrines every 10-15 minutes!


The Order to Visit the Outer and Inner Shrines

Toyoukebime is a god enshrined in the Outer Shrine; Amaterasu Oomikami at the Inner Shrine. These gods are enshrined in "goshougu", top-ranked shrines in the heirarchy. Other shrines in the area are "betsugu" (second rank) or lower. Traditionally, people go from the Outer Shrine to the Inner Shrine, and from "goshougu" to "betsugu".

Visiting the Outer Shrine

the Outer Shrine map : 90min

  1. 1 Omotesando Hiyoke Bridge

    This is the entrance to the outer shrine. It was constructed in the Edo Period and is said to protect the temple grounds should fires spread in the area.

  2. 2 Purification Fountains

    Just across the Hiyoke Bridge and on the left there's the Purification Fountain. Rinse your hands and mouth before entering.

  3. 3 The Main Shrine

    A goddess of food and grain, Toyouke no Oomikami, is enshrined here in the main shrine. This is a place to pay homage to her.

  4. 4 Takanomiya

    This shrine has the next highest standing. It's good to come here before embarking on any new endeavors.

  5. 5 Tsuchinomiya (Earth Shrine)

    The enshrined god has protected the earth for a long time. This guardian diety of the shores was promoted to this higher position from another shrine during the Heian Period.

  6. 6 Kazenomiya (Wind Shrine)

    This god watches over the crops, wind, and rain. It's said this deity protected Japan during the invasion of the late 1200's with a divine wind (kamikaze).

  7. 7 Kaguraden (sacred stage)

    You'll see this structure as you head toward the shrine. Here they commemorate special anniversaries, and you can recieve their official seal if you're collecting them as part of your pilgrimage.

  8. 8 Magatama Pond

    This pond is in the shape of a "magatama", a comma-shaped jewel. From May to June, you can see around 14,000 Japanaese Irises blooming here.

Visiting the Inner Shrine

the Inner Shrine map : 90min

  1. 1 Uji Bridge

    Found at the entrance to Ise's Inner Shrine. This stunningly picturesque bridge leads you from the normal world to the divine realm.

  2. 2 Shrine Gardens

    The garden of the gods. It's known for its beautiful fall leaves. Maybe you'll catch a glimpse of a free roaming sacred rooster.

  3. 3 Isuzu River Hand Washing Basin

    This used to be where purification ceremonies were held. It's customary to cleanse your hands at the nearby purification fountain.

  4. 4 Ise Jingu

    Up twenty stone steps is the very place where Amaterasu Okami is enshrined. Photography is not allowed past the bottom of the steps.

  5. 5 Aramatsuri Shrine

    This is the most important of the shrines around the inner shrine. Within the quiet of the forest, continue up the stone steps and pay homage to the gods.

  6. 6 Kazehinomi Shrine

    On the other side of the bridge, you'll find where a god of wind is enshrined. It's said this god defended Japan from attack in the latter half of the 1200's.

  7. 7 Kaguraden (sacred stage)

    Offer up your prayers, buy charms, and get your pilgrimage seal here.

  8. 8 Assembly Hall

    Take a rest here, buy some souvenirs, and enjoy the exhibitions. Treat yourself to some complimentary tea.

  9. 9 Koyasu Shrine

    The enshrined god, Konohanasakuyahimenomikoto, hears prayers for safe and easy childbirth.