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Although Ise Jingu is a well-known tourism spot, don’t let its popularity deter you! The benefit of it being a hot spot for visitors is that there are more shops and attractions leading up to the shrine, and throughout the city of Ise as a whole. You will have the chance to try a variety of foods, and many of the shops offer samples! Make sure not to miss your opportunity to try akafuku—a regional mochi filled with sweet bean paste that has been served at Ise Jingu for more than 300 years!
After enjoying our local snacks, we continued towards the shrine. As we made our way, we saw people gathering around stones and trees, earnestly reaching out with their palms open towards the objects. We learned that since Ise Jingu considered the most sacred shrine, it also has some of the most well-known “power spots” in Japan. These objects are also considered sacred, and said to give strength to people, while also guarding the shrine.
Visiting the shrine can be such a full experience because of all of the unique cultural opportunities you have before even entering the torii gates! Then when it comes time to finally enter the shrine, be sure to respect the rules of not using your camera or cell phone to take pictures or record. Even our crew filming a TV show made sure to abide by all the rules so as not to disrespect the people around us, or the gods!
As you stand in front of the shrine, even with hundreds around you, as soon as you bow and put your hands together, you feel a sense of peace and solitude. It is your chance to ask for something you might want, be grateful for what you have, and capture a moment of peace in a busy and exciting place.
To discover more of the Soul of Japan with the runAway team check out the Season 1 Playlist on Youtube!