A spiritual home of the Japanese
Explore Ise Jingu, the spiritual center of the Japanese people, and discover the origin of Japanese culture in surrounding Ise. Reward yourself at various leisure facilities and quality ryokan inns in the Futami/Toba area. Enjoy beautiful nature, flavorful seafood, and fun theme parks in Shima. Along with a magnificent view of the blue sky and ocean, there are many ways in which to spend your vacation days in the Ise-Toba-Shima area.
Ise Jingu has been a center of worship among many shrines across Japan since ancient times, when many people dreamed of paying a visit once in their lives. Ise Jingu is a shrine complex comprising a total of 125 surrounding shrines centered around two main shrines, Kotai Jingu, well known as Naiku, and Toyouke Daijingu, well known as Geku. Traditionally, worshippers are recommended to visit Geku first and then Naiku. All buildings, costumes and sacred treasures are newly made and goshintai, or the object of worship, of each shrine is transferred from the old to the new shrine building every 20 years. This is one of the important festivals in Japan, called "Shikinen Sengu," first held 1,300 years ago. In autumn 2013, the 62nd Jingu Shikinen Sengu was held.
Ise Jingu(Geku)(Outer Shrine)
Practice at the shrine
Bow before passing through the torii gate.
Beyond the torii gate is a holy place where the god lives. Enter the shrine after bowing.
Do not walk in the center of the approach. The central part of the approach is the path for the god.
Wash your hands and rinse your mouth at the chozuya, or the hand-wash station.
- Cleaning the left hand
- Take a scoop in your right hand and pour some water into your left hand.
- Cleaning the right hand
- Pass the scoop to the left hand and wash your right hand.
- Rinsing the mouth
- Pass the scoop to the right hand again, pour some water into your left hand and rinse your mouth.
* Do not wash your mouth directly from the scoop.
- Washing the scoop
- Point the scoop upright to wash the handle of the scoop with the remaining water.
- Returning the scoop to its original position
- Return the scoop to its original position. The bottom of the scoop should face upward.
- * Follow the steps above with a scoop of water.
Next is to finally offer prayers.
1. Rise to your full height facing the god.
2. When offering money, insert it softly.
3. Offer prayers with two bows, two handclaps and one bow.
- Bowing twice
- With your back straight, bow deeply twice by bending 90-degrees from the waist.
- Clapping hands twice
- Clap your hands lightly twice.
- Thank the god and offer prayers.
- Bowing deeply once again
- Finally, bow deeply once again by bending 90-degrees from the waist.
Making a bow before leaving
When passing through the torii gate, make a bow and leave the shrine.
* The practice may vary according to the shrine. At temples, it is common to join your hands in prayer without clapping your hands.
After visiting Ise Jingu, enjoy a stroll through Oharai-Machi, a busy district in Ise Jingu vicinity lined with a number of souvenir shops and restaurants serving worshippers. Okage-Yokocho is a block within the district where traditional buildings from the Edo period have been preserved to create nostalgic streetscapes.
Highlights of the tour in Toba include a visit to TOBA AQUARIUM, Japan's largest aquarium where dugongs, finless porpoises, and many other varieties of sea animals welcome visitors. In Toba Bay, a scenic ocean view dotted with small islands can be enjoyed from a cruise ship.
- Toba Aquarium
- Toba Bay and Irukajima Island (Dolphin Island) Cruise
Highly recommended in the Shima area is the Parque Espana, or Shima Spain Village. This park themed to the vibrant country of Spain features attractions and parades to offer visitors an experience filled with thrills and fantasy. There are other places for fun in Shima, such as the Shima Marineland where one can see the popular ocean sunfish.
- Shima Spain Village
- Shima Marineland
Ise ebi (small lobster)
Mainly caught around the Shima Peninsula from October through April, Ise ebi is one of the most expensive gourmet ingredients from the local ocean. While sashimi (raw slices) is the best way to enjoy its freshness, Ise ebi can be cooked and enjoyed in many ways, such as in miso( soybean paste ) soup, grilled or stewed. Don't miss the opportunity to experience the fine flavor of the fresh local catch.
Shima awabi (abalone)
Fed on good quality seaweed, Shima awabi has earned a reputation for its outstanding quality. Those caught by the hands of ama divers are given a higher grade at the market and are served at local minshuku (guest houses) and ryokan (Japanese inns) and often are shipped to exclusive restaurants in large cities. Available from April through September, Shima awabi is best enjoyed as steak or sashimi (raw slices).
Matoya kaki (oyster)
Often described as "milk from ocean" in Japan, oysters are rich in nutrients. Matoya kaki is especially known for its size, which is the result of being grown in the nutrient-rich ocean. Cleaned by a special technology that uses UV light, Matoya kaki can be safely enjoyed raw. Available for a longer period than other varieties, from September to March, Matoya kaki can also be enjoyed grilled, deep-fried, stewed with miso, and many other ways.
Anori fugu (blowfish)
Known as a local specialty in winter, Anori fugu refers to a torafugu blowfish that falls under a specific definition: it must be naturally caught in Ise Bay, Enshunada Sea, or Kumanonada Sea, and weigh 700 grams or more. Most Anori fugu are landed near the Anori Fishing Port. Available between October and February, Anori fugu tastes great as tessa (sashimi-sliced row blowfish), tetchiri (stew), karaage (deep-fried), or zosui (stewed with rice).
Available at restaurants mostly within Ise-shi. Tenderly-cooked, thick udon (Japanese wheat noodles) is served in a rich, dark broth made of tamari shoyu (soy sauce) and dashi stock from katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and iriko (dried small fish).
The origin of Shima's local specialty is what fishermen used to prepare and eat on their boats by hand-mixing shoyu( soy sauce )-marinated fresh bonito slices, vinegared rice, and a few condiments.