Ise Grand Shrine: Geku   外宮

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Sun and Rice

The outer shrine of Ise, Geku, less prestigious than Naiku is full of mystery and dedicated to the ancestral deity of good harvests.

Legend has it that one night, the goddess Amaterasu appeared in a dream to the emperor Yuryaku (late fifth century.), asking him to protect the sacred food that men bring him daily.

The emperor then had a a divine figurine of good crops and rice, Toyouke Omikami, carried from Tanba (his former shrine) to Ise. The outer shrine Geku was born, in addition to Naiku (home of Amaterasu), both dedicated to the worship of the sun and rice, two symbols of Japan. Since then it is believed that Toyouke feeds Amaterasu, and the two temples are complementary.

Amaterasu and Toyouke

To access the heart of Geku, pass near the Magatama pond, where ceremonies and ritual dances are held during the rice harvest in autumn, before advancing towards the main avenue leading to the Shoden, the main pavilion. The buildings here are almost similar to those of Naiku, giving you the opportunity to admire the proto-Buddhist architecture called Shinmei zukuri. Nearby, in the Imibiya-den, the dishes are prepared daily for the goddess Toyouke, who then brings them to Amaterasu.

At the entrance of Geku, Sengukan, a museum, opened in 2012, displaying models of the buildings of the shrine, and giving explanations of the ritual reconstruction that takes place every twenty years.

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