Kyoto or Ise?
If someone ask you which place you want to visit during your trip to western Japan, you might say “Kyoto, of course!” or “I do not know about Ise that much so that I chose Kyoto.”
Yes, that’s very true.
I would like to tell you that how Ise is attractive also for Japanese.
The attractive place that Japanese also do not know well
Actually I visited Kyoto four times as my school trip, family trip, friend trips, .etc.
But, I have not been to Ise even once.
Finally, I visited Ise with my family and I found that is where I should recommend.
Staying in Nagoya as your center of your Japan trip
Even for visiting Kyoto or Ise, one of good choice is staying in Nagoya.
Because Nagoya is very convenient to reach to all of Ise, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, even Tokyo.
Check the location of Ise, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto in the map
As you see, you may visit Osaka and Kyoto from Nagoya by a single bullet train ride. But when we want to visit Ise we need to transfer to local train from Nagoya.
Which means, Ise is very important place to know old Japan but not that many tourists visit Ise yet.
What is Ise Jingu?
Ise Jingu, officially ‘Jingu’, includes 125 jinja(shinto shrine), centered around Kotaijingu(Naiku), dedicated to Amaterasu-Omikami, and Toyo’uke-daijingu(Geku), dedicated to Toyo’uke-no-Omikami. Its area is roughly the same size as Paris. More than 1,500 rituals are conducted here yearly to pray for the prosperity of the Imperial family, the peace of the world, and the huge harvest.
Why Ise ?
Ise in Mie prefecture is a little less convenient comparing with Kyoto, Osaka area.
You need to take and transfer several trains to go.
So that is why I found Ise is very quiet and the good place to know about Japanese old history.
Inside of Ise Jingu
Ise is very quiet comparing with Kyoto.
Every morning and the evening the ritual of “Higoto-asa-yu-omike-sai” is held in Geku. This is the ritual of offering Amaterasu-Omikami food, and in the 1500 years since Geku was founded.
When we were walking near Geku, we encountered three Guji(宮司:chief priest of shrine) visiting Geku for its evening “Higoto-asa-yu-omike-sai” by chance.
Guji is walking for “Higoto-asa-yu-omike-sai” on that evening
I knew that they do many everyday, annual festivals of Ise without any lacking since the Ise Jingu was built.
But we saw that is reality!
They do their festivals in old way and they do these festivals never for the show.
Old people do them for thousand years so that they just follow its manner for thousand years!
I felt like I went back to thousands years ago.
Kotaijingu (Naiku) is the most venerable sanctuary in Japan. Here is a jinja (Shinto shrine) dedicated to Amaterasu-Omikami, the ancestral kami (Shinto deity) of the Imperial family. She was enshrined in Naiku about 2,000 years ago and has been revered as a guardian of Japan.
Back side of Naigu
Breakfast of Ryokan
Salad, rice, fish…. almost no oil
Recommended itinerary for Ise in Japan
This is one of my recommendations how you stay just after you arrive Japan.
This 3-night stay trip plan has enough days to see Ise and I think staying Nagoya as a hub of western Japan trip is better choice for all.
If you come to Ise from Tokyo, it takes 1 hour and a half from Tokyo to Nagoya by single bullet train ride.
Planning to purchase your flight tickets
As a conclusion, If you plan to purchase your flight tickets and hotel reservation, "Expedia" is our recommendation.
Expedia is cheaper when you buy your tickets and hotel reservation as a set.