copyright2001 Jingu Administration Office(c)Jingu-shicho
(Enlarged photo)


The official name of Naiku is Kotaijingu. The main deity is Amaterasu Omikami, the ancestor of the Imperial Family and the tutelary kami of the Japanese people. Naiku was founded about 2000 years ago. Worship of Amaterasu Omikami was conducted by the first ten Emperors within the Imperial Palace in Yamato. At the age of Emperor Sujin the country was struck by severe epidemics and numerous other disasters. Therefore, the Emperor gave Princess Toyosukiirihime-no-mikoto an order to remove Amaterasu Omikami from the Imperial Palace and worship her at another place. Consequently, Amaterasu Omikami was enshrined at a location in the eastern Nara Basin.
Next emperor Suinin gave Princess Yamatohime-no-mikoto an order to find the most suitable permanent location to hold ceremonies for Amaterasu Omikami. The princess left Yamato, arriving finally at Ise after having wandered through the regions of Ohmi and Mino. At Ise, she heard the voice of Amaterasu Omikami, saying "I wish to live forever here in Ise, where the wind of kami blows, the country blessed with the rich resources of the mountains and the sea." Yamatohime-no-mikoto decided to build a magnificent sanctuary at Ise to hold ceremonies for Amaterasu Omikami forever. This was the beginning of Naiku. Ever since, for 2000 years, Amaterasu Omikami has been worshiped in Ise by the Japanese people and the Emperor, in ceremonies led by the Jingu Shinto priests.


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Jingu Administration Office
(c)Jingu-shicho
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Uji Bridge
The Uji Bridge over the Isuzu River, located at the entrance to the Naiku, leads people from the everyday to the sacred world. It is majestic in its purely Japanese style. It is about 100 m long and is reconstructed every 20 years at the occasion of Shikinen Sengu ceremony.

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Jingu Administration Office
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Font for ablution (Temizusha)
When worshiping at a Shinto sanctuary, people are requested to wash their hands and rinse their mouths. This ablution is a simplified procedure to cleans their minds and bodies. Shinto asks everybody who wants to worship to remove impurity and regain a purified mind and body. When it is fine weather, you are recommended to wash your hands and rinse your mouth at the Mitarashi by the Isuzu River as well as at the Temizusha.


The Purification Hall (Saikan)
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Jingu Administration Office
(c)Jingu-shicho
(Enlarged photo)

The Hall for visitors from the Imperial Household (Anzaisho)
copyright2001
Jingu Administration Office
(c)Jingu-shicho
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The Purification Hall (Saikan) and the Hall for visitors from the Imperial Household (Anzaisho)
On the left side of the pilgrimage path, there is a building called Saikan (the Purification Hall) encircled by fences. Before performing any ceremony, the Shinto priests are required to spend one or two nights here to free their mind from secular concerns so that they can serve at the rituals. Here they take a bath and partake of meals cooked with the sacred fire. By these procedures they become clean in mind and body, and spiritually serene. Adjacent to the Saikan, there is a building called Anzaisho (the Hall for the Emperor and the Empress).

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copyright2001
Jingu Administration Office
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(Enlarged photo)
The Isuzu River and the Mitarashi, the place for ablution
Since ancient times, pilgrims to the Jingu have purified their hands here, before worshiping Amaterasu Omikami. By washing their hands and rinsing their mouth with the water from the pristine Isuzu River they purify their minds and bodies. This place is one of the most impressive locations at Naiku.


copyright2001
Jingu Administration Office
(c)Jingu-shicho
(Enlarged photo)
Hall for special prayer at Naiku (Kaguraden)
The Kaguraden at the Naiku is a hall where worshipers can offer their individual respect and thanks to the kami. It is located at around the middle point of the pilgrimage path leading from the Uji Bridge to the main sanctuary. At this hall, you may make prayer and give a donation in favor of the Shikinen Sengu. You can also purchase the Jingu Taima, a talisman for protection, amulets and hanging scrolls of Amaterasu Omikami.


copyright2001
Jingu Administration Office
(c)Jingu-shicho
(Enlarged photo)
Hall of the sacred fire to prepare the food for the kami (Imibiyaden)
On the left side of the pilgrimage path, there is a building called the Imibiyaden, the sacred kitchen where all meals for the kami are cooked. The priest, after he completed ablutions, kindles makes the sacred fire by grinding a wooden board with a drill. Then he cooks rice and other offerings on this sacred fire. The foods cooked in this way are stored in a box made of Japanese cypress and are ritually purified at the Haraedo, the site for purification in front of the Imibiyaden, before they are served to the kami.


copyright2001
Jingu Administration Office
(c)Jingu-shicho
(Enlarged photo)
Naiku, main sanctuary (Kotaijingu)
Amaterasu Omikami has been enshrined at the Shoden, the main sanctuary building, in the most sacred place enclosed by four rows of fences. The building has the same shape as it had 2000 years ago, because of the ritual reconstruction performed every 20 years. General worshipers may approach only as close as the first gate.