Basho Matsuo (famous Haiku poet in the Edo Period 1644-94)
"Everybody storms to Ise Jingu in reverence for the Shikinen Sengu Ceremony."

The Sengyo Ceremony
(The transfer ceremony of symbol of Amaterasu Omikami during the Sengu)
copyright2001 Jingu Administration Office(c)jingu-bunko
(Enlarged photo)
There is a site of identical size, adjoining to the main building of Naiku, the sanctuary for Amaterasu Omikami, where a new building of exactly the same form is reconstructed once every twenty years. It involves the reconstruction of the building as well as the renewal of the sacred apparel and the treasures which are carried to the new sanctuary building along with the symbol of the kami on the occasion of the Sengyo, the transfer ceremony. Since late in the 7th century A. D., this ceremonial system, referred to as Shikinen Sengu, has been conducted for 1300 years. The first Shikinen Sengu was performed in the period of the 41st Emperor Jito, the wife of the 40th Emperor Tenmu who established this system. Since then, with only a few exceptions, this ceremonial system has been continued and the 61st Shikinen Sengu was conducted in 1993.
The Kanname-sai ceremony (offering of the First Fruits to Amaterasu Omikami) is the most important ceremony in the annual cycle. This Ceremoniey is conducted every year, and culminates in the year of Shikinen Sengu. As food, clothing and shelter form the requisites of our life, we have to prepare similar requisites for the kami, if we wish to receive blessings from them. Therefore, the ceremony of the Shikinen Sengu includes the renewal of buildings (shelter) as well as the renewal of the treasures (clothing) and the offering of first fruits (food). By performing the Shikinen Sengu, we renew our minds by remembering that our ancestors had enshrined Amaterasu Omikami in Ise, and praying that the Emperor will live long, and that peace will prevail in Japan and the world. It also involves the wish that Japanese traditional culture should be transmitted to the next generation. The renewal of the buildings and of the treasures has been conducted in the same traditional way ever since the first Shikinen Sengu had been performed 1300 years ago. The scientific development makes manual technology obsolete in some fields. However, by performing the Shikinen Sengu, traditional technologies are preserved. The system of the Shikinen Sengu has been continued at the Geku, as well as at the Naiku.

The next Shikinen Sengu ceremony will be conducted in 2013.