Last weekend, we went to Ise to visit its famous shinto shrines. Along with buddhism, shinto is one of the major religions in Japan and is strongly linked to nature. The spirits, also called kami, are present in mountains, rocks, wind etc. The Ise shrines are dedicated to the most important kami, Amaterasu, the goddess of sun...
There are two main shrines and, for religious reasons that I did not understand, each of them is dismantled and rebuilt every twenty years on an adjacent site.
The shrines are located in the forest. Some of the trees are very tall and the atmosphere can sometimes become almost unreal when the night starts to fall...
Unfortunately, the shrines are so sacred that their entrance is forbidden, as well as taking pictures of them! But practically, many people do not respect that rule and I was no exception:
I could not take any better picture, as it is just not possible to get any closer...
Of course, Ise attracts lots of tourists and we also did some shopping in town:
We spent the night at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. Better than at home, and on top of that we were the only customers that day!
On the way back, we stopped by Iga ueno, a former (and now very tacky) ninja village. We visited a reconstitued ninja house, featuring many secret doors and hideouts. I may post a couple pictures some day.