Hours: 5:00am – 5:00pm
Parking: there are paid parking spots around the shrines
World Heritage site: Nope
Are dogs allowed?
No, dogs are not allowed inside the shrines (at least not on the 2 main ones Naiku and Geku). However, the do have a place at the entrance of both main shrines where you can leave your dog in a cage while you visit the shrine. And the best part is that it’s free.
Why come here?
It is considered one of the most sacred Shinto shrine complexes in Japan. In Japanese a shrine is called a “jinja” when it referts to just one shrine, but it is a “jingu” when there are more than one. That’s why this place is called “Ise Jingu” in Japanese.
Ise Grand shrine is made up of 2 main shrines “Naiku” and “Geku”, plus other smaller shrines which total to about 125 shrines.
The main shrines are surrounded by forest and a river so it’s a really nice place to have a walk and to take some pictures but in the most sacred parts photos are not allowed.
If you are into Japanese mythology then I think that you know more than me and you should teach me. But if you are like me completely ignorant about the subject then a quick visit to the mythology museum “Shinwa Kan (神話館)” on the outside of Naiku shrine will teach you a thing or two about mythology so that you can appreciate the meaning of the shrines a bit more. The entrance price for the museum is only 200 yen and it includes a 30 minute video and then some washi-paper art depicting scenes from mythology.
One of the stories that I remembered was about a God called Izanagi whose wife died and went to the real of the dead. Izanagi wanted to rescue his wife so he went bring her back. His wife told him she would go with him but he had to promise not to look at her while they were still on the realm of the dead. He broke his promise and looked at her, she got angry and Izanagi got scared because his wife had the shape of a monster and was now chasing him angrily.
The picture below is the washi-paper art that was on the museum depicting that story.
Maybe I got some details wrong, so if you know more about mythology please enlighten me in the comment section below. I just wanted to give a quick example of how the museum was like on the inside.