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Japan Day 6/7: Ise - A Tale of Two Shrines
« Japan Day 8: KanazawaJapan Day 5: The Tokyo Hustle »

Japan Day 6/7: Ise - A Tale of Two Shrines

11/10/14 | by Comp615 [mail] | Categories: Travel

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I have a few stops on the trip that are sort of "pass through" places. Ise was one such place south of Nagoya, and to get there I actually had to pass through Nagoya where I'd spend the night. Because of certain Tokyo festivities, I was running an hour or two late on my plans, and on the way I was wondering if it'd even be worth it; three hours round trip for three hours in Ise. It turned out to be an interesting and marvelous stop!

Now like Europe, I think you can see too many shrines and temples, but Ise is the Mecca of the Shinto religion. Ise contains two large shrines, the Inner and Outer, which are considered the center of the religion. I first visited the outer one and realized it was much larger than other shrines I'd visited. I took a 20 minute walk around the grounds and to the back where the grand temple is along with the alternate, mirror site which apparently each must have.

To my surprise, people were only allowed in the patio essentially, a 400 sq ft area, where there was a small wooden structure with cloth and metal inside for people to throw in their coins. Behind that and the railing was a huge stone garden, black stones with a white path running down the middle through Shinto gates, really nice. To the side, there was a small hut (150 sq ft) in which an elder sat and would do some rituals with certain families (I assume they paid?).

The really different part was the overall architecture. It was totally new, and pure fresh-cut looking wood. Nothing ornate. Definitely more of a study place than the others. In addition, buildings and retreats were far apart and the foggy overcast rain added to the spiritual, mysterious air about the grounds.

After visiting the outer, I headed to the inner, which was about 15 minutes away by bus. Turns out, literally the same. Everything I said above, just copy and paste.

Back in Nagoya this morning, I went to the JR Train museum. Super cool actually featuring all three of the fastest trains in the world (steam, conventional, maglev). Watched a film about how they went from 210 to 270km/h, which was interesting, and best of all got to see the maglev train and a feel simulated ride. At 500km/h, my mind can barely comprehend how fast it is, more than halving the time of the trip from Tokyo to Nagoya and scheduled to start service in just over 10 years. I'll probably talk about this more when I write a post focused on getting around here.

Finally, I headed to Kanazawa today on the best ride so far. The trees will be just about perfect when I return to Kyoto today. You can see the altitudes on mountains marked by colors even. Reds up top, green down below.

The hostel here is incredible, just 12 people and the hostess introduces you to all of them. Someone from SF, someone from this very city, another Japanese girl, and Italian. We sat around on the common room tatami swapping stories. A very personal and cool experience!!!

Off to bed now and a full day in Kanazawa awaits tomorrow starting with an early walking tour. Have a great week back in the states!

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A collection of musings from my time at Yale along with some thoughts about my "Freshman year of life" in San Francisco.

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