News from JNTO

Rebuilding of Ise Grand Shrine


Every twenty years, the two main buildings inside the Ise Jingu Shrine are rebuilt. Located in Ise City, Mie Prefecture, the Ise Jingu Shrine is a huge shrine complex dedicated to the goddess Amaterasu-omikami. 2013 marks the 62nd undertaking of this major event. Aside from the two main shrines, the Ise Jingu Shrine consists of about 125 shrines, and there are many other revered religious and historic sites in and around Ise City. Throughout the year, many festivals and ceremonies are held at and around the complex.

The shrines that are rebuilt are Naiku or the "Inner Shrine" and Geku or the "Outer Shrine", and they, as well as other parts of the complex that undergo any rebuilding are rebuilt according to the original design blueprints from over 1,000 years ago. This rebuilding tradition is part of the Shinto belief in the transience of life, and the renewal that follows death. It is also an invaluable way to pass on ancient building techniques from one generation to the next. The shrines are rebuilt on land that is adjacent to the existing shrines, and each rebuilding alternates between these two sites. No other shrines outside the Ise complex are allowed to use these construction designs.

The Izumo Taisha Shrine in Shimane Prefecture is another example of a shrine being rebuilt on a scheduled basis. Conversely, this shrine is rebuilt every 60 years. The current rebuilding started in 2008 and is scheduled to finish in 2013, the same year as the rebuilding for Ise Jingu Shrine will be completed.

To commemorate the 62nd rebuilding anniversary of Ise Jingu Shrine, there will be a number of special events including The Grand Shrine Exhibition at the Tokyo National Museum. Open from April 9th - June 2nd, the Grand Shrine Exhibition will feature many sacred statues and Shinto treasures held in the Shinto shrines throughout Japan.

For more information about Ise Jingu Shrine, please visit here.

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