- No.1: The standard route to take when praying at the shrines
- No.2: You should not expose to much of your skin
- No.3: Don’t walk in the middle of the approach
- No.4: Bow once at the tori gate before passing
- No.5: Let’s learn how to cleanse your mouth and hands
- No.6: Do not make a wish at Goshougu
- No.7: How to express your gratitude
- No.8: Don’t make a monetary offering
No.1: The standard route to take when praying at the shrines
There are two major shrines at the Ise Grand shrine; [Naiku], where the Amaterasu Ohmikami is enshrined, and [Geku] where the Toyouke-no-Ohkami is enshrined. If you are visiting the Ise Grand Shrine, you should visit both of it’s shrines, because visiting only one is called “Katamairi”, and is considered bad manners. Please plan enough time to visit both of them.
There’s also a proper route to take when praying at these shrines and you should follow the standard rule. People usually visit Geku first, and then Naiku. It takes about 15 minutes by car from Geku to Naiku, and you can also take a bus. You might not get the impression that Geku is as important, or as popular compared to Naiku, but it’s enshrined god, Toyouke-no-Ohkami is a god for food, clothing, and shelter. Please show respect to Geku for the benefit of your well-being.
There is also another order to follow at each of the two shrines. When you visit Naiku, please start by praying at Goshougu, where Amaterasu is enshrined, and then visit the other smaller shrines. When you visit Geku, please start at Goshougu, where the God Toyouke-no-Ohkami is enshrined. The areas are very large large, so it will take a lot of time to pray at each of the shrines. It will take 15 minutes at the Geku Goshougu and 30 minutes at the Naiku Goshougu. If you wish to visit the other smaller shrines, then plan at least another 1 hour to walk around.
No.2: You should not expose to much of your skin
You don’t have to worry about wearing formal wear if you are just visiting, but try not to show too much of your skin in front of the god. I would not recommend visiting in short pants and a tank top, especially if you are there to pray.
No.3: Don’t walk in the middle of the approach
You’ll pass over the Hiyoke-bashi bridge in Geku, and the Uji-bashi bridge in Naiku.
By passing over these bridges, you are entering holy precincts. Please keep to the left inside Geku, and to the right in Naiku. This is because the position of Temizuya (the wash basin) is located on the left and right in each shrine, and the pedestrian road is positioned according to the location of the Temizuya at each shrine. Walking in the middle of the bridge is not good, because it’s where the gods pass. Please also refrain from eating, drinking, and chatting on these bridges.
No.4: Bow once at the tori gate before passing
As you pass under each of the tori gates, you’ll come closer to god. Make sure to bow once while thinking in your mind, “Thank you for letting me pray” before passing under each tori gate. It’s much the same as greeting someone when you visit their home. If you are wearing a hat or cap, make sure to take it off when bowing.
No.5: Let’s learn how to cleanse your mouth and hands
You’ll come to see Temizuya, the washbasin to cleanse your mouth and hands.
It also has a special order in which to cleanse yourself. Please refer to [another article] for more details.
No.6: Do not make a wish at Goshougu
Goshougu, where the grand god is enshrined, is the place to express your gratitude, not to make a wish. Please give your name, address, and words to god when visiting this shrine. If you don’t give this information, the god will not know who you are and where you are from.
You can express your wishes at the smaller shrines; Takanomiya in Geku, and Aramatsurinomiya in Naiku. Please visit both of them.
No.7: How to express your gratitude
When expressing your gratitude to god, please bow twice and clap your hands twice.
When leaving, don’t forget to give 1 more bow to show politeness.
No.8: Don’t make a monetary offering
There are no boxes to offer money at Goshougu. This is very different from other shrines. Ise Grand Shrine had a rule called Shihei kindan that stated, “Nobody but the Emperor could visit and pray here”, so offering money has long been prohibited.
There is also a white sheet on the ground, but it’s not used for collecting money. People still offer money even though they are told not to, so this sheet prevents it from directly touching the ground.
You’ll feel very refreshed after praying at the shrines!
Ise Grand shrine has a special atmosphere, with it’s mystical energy throughout and the hundred-year-old cedar trees. You’ll surely feel cleansed after visiting. You don’t have to worry to much about these rules, but by knowing them, you’ll have a more sincere understanding. I hope you have a good time!
After visiting the shrines, I recommend you try [Ise Udon]. You will find foods such as [Akafuku], Kaisendon, and other local specialties on [Okageyokocho street]. It has always been part of the joyful experience when visiting Ise Grand Shrine since ancient times.