Naiku Shrine

A site plan of the Naiku Shrine

A site plan of the Naiku Shrine

The Naiku Shrine is one major Shinto shrine located in the large shrine complex of the Ise Grand Shrine. The Naiku Shrine is located in the town of Uji-tachi and is one of Japan’s most sacred Shinto sites.. Legend has it that the shrine was built over 2,000 years ago. Yamatohime-no-mikoto, the daughter of the Emperor Suinin, was searching¬†for a site on the Isuzu river to house relics and worship the goddess Amaterasu. Her search brought her to Ise where Naiku was built at around 3 BC. Since 690 BC, it has been renewed and rebuilt every 20 years, following the Shinto principles of ritual renewal. By rebuilding the shrine, there is a focus on cleanliness, purity, and freshness. Its rebuilding also shows an acceptance of the natural cycle of life and death, another important Shinto belief. It costs around $300 million to rebuild the shrine and requires 12,000 trees, 25,0000 bundles of kaya, 10 lbs of gold.

The preparation ceremonies begin 8 years before the rebuilding. It involves a number of different events. The lumberjacks and trees in Kiso mountains, the villages of transit, the timber pulled by the residents, and the artisans all must be blessed. In addition, prayers are given surrounding the groundbreaking as well as to the kami of the buildings and the residents who bring the stone. The buildings must be purified and the treasures must be transferred. The preparations end with a procession led by siashu, a sengu ceremony which is the transfer of the diety, and ritual music and dancing.

 

Advertisements