Thursday, September 06, 2007

My Adventures in Japan Part 3: Mie

I went to Mie prefecture. Mie prefecture is famous for Isejingu (伊勢神宮). Isejingu is called the Grand Shrine of Ise in English. Isejingu is the holiest place in Shinto.

In the picture below you can see the torii gate of Isejingu. The torii is the entrance to the grand shrine. It is different from most torii because it is not painted red. Everything at Isejingu is natural.

Isejingu is dedicated to the goddess Amaterasu-omikami (天照大神). She is in the centre of the picture below.

Isejingu is a very quiet and peaceful place. I went there in summer. It was very hot and humid. However, there are many trees, and plants and a lot of grass in the area surrounding Isejingu. This made it feel cooler than it really is.

The landscaping around Isejingu is very beautiful. I love the trees in Japanese gardens. They have beautiful shapes. The technique that Japanese gardeners use in order to shape the trees is called niwaki (庭木). The first Chinese character is "niwa". Niwa means garden. The second Chinese Character is "ki". Ki means tree.

This is one of the small shrines inside Isejingu. I love the colour of the natural wood. Isejingu is designed in a very old style of architecture. This style of architecture was developed before the influence of Buddhism and Chinese architectural styles.

Isejingu is in the city of Ise. Most cities in Japan are famous for some kind of food. Ise is famous for akafukumochi. Akafukumochi is very delicious and very fun to eat too.

Next time, Hiroshima!

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