Uji-bashi Bridge   宇治橋

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Sacred Bridge

The famous cypress bridge marks the entrance into the magical world of Ise.

A bridge 100m, obviously brand new, behind which stands a large torii (shrine gate) and a forest horizon: this is how we move from the profane world to the sacred world, this site that the Japanese take for the holiest of their country. Most visitors bow respectfully before crossing, others caress cypress beams with piety. They know that the bridge that leads to the inner sanctum Naiku shrine is not made of just any old wood.

For as is the tradition here in Ise, every 20 years, the two main buildings of the sanctuary (the Naiku and Geku) are destroyed and rebuilt identically. And dedicated wood (it comes from trees of the forest of Ise) is then used to reconstruct the Uji-bashi. The bridge is so, paradoxically, very ancient and ever new.

Under the bridge flows the river Isuzu, strongly associated with the history and the temples of Ise. Many songs and poems are thus refer, and parts of its banks are used to perform the ritual ablutions purification.

Before crossing, on the left, tourists scattered in the shopping Oharai-machi, looking for souvenirs, snacks, or queuing in front of the famous Akafuku sweets shop.

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