Ise Jingu is the most important and popular shrine for Japanese people,
Ise Jingu was the group name of shrines around Ise-no-kuni
), especially Naigu (Kotaijingu) and Gegu (Toyoukedaijingu) are the famous.
They are surrounded by deep green forests. They are very silent and holy
places for Japanese people. Once Japanese want to visit them, therefore
several millions of Japanese people visit every year.
Jingu is often introduced in the dictionary as "Ise Jingu." However,
the official name is "Jingu" without "Ise." Jingu is
principally composed of the Naiku where Amaterasu Omikami, the ancestral
kami of the Imperial Family, is worshiped, and Geku where Toyouke Omikami,
the kami of agriculture and industry, is worshiped. Naiku and Geku are
located about 6 km apart from one another.
Naiku is the alternative name for Kotaijingu, the sanctuary that is located in the southern part of Ise city, Mie, and was founded about 2000 years ago.
Geku is the alternative name for Toyoukedaijingu. This sanctuary is located
in the center of Ise city, Mie prefecture, and was founded about 1500 years
In the area around Jingu, 125 subsidiary shinto sanctuaries are distributed. 91 of them are connected with the Naiku and 32 with the Geku.
Jingu is described in the oldest Japanese books "Kojiki (Records of
Ancient Matters)" and "Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan)",
edited about 1300 years ago.
Many generations of our ancestors have worshiped at the Jingu, which exists now just as it was at its beginning.
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.
The official name of the Geku is Toyoukedaijingu. The kami of the Geku
is Toyouke Omikami, who is responsible for the food of Amaterasu Omikami.
She is also the kami for food, clothing, and shelter. The Geku was founded
about 1500 years ago. The 21th Emperor Yuryaku had a dream of Amaterasu
Omikami in which the deity revealed that she could not properly secure
her meals and therefore asked the Emperor to bring Toyouke Omikami from
Tanba (currently, northern part of Kyoto prefecture) to take care of her
food. After awaking from the dream, the Emperor Yuryaku took to heart what
he had heard from Amaterasu Omikami, built a magnificent dwelling place
and brought Toyouke Omikami here. This was the founding of the Geku. Since
then, for about 1500 years, Toyouke Omikami has been serving the meals
to Amaterasu Omikami, in what is called the Higoto-Asayu-Omikesai, a ceremony
distinctive to the Geku. Throughout the year, the rites at the Geku are
conducted in the same way as at the Naiku.