Ise Grand Shrine - The Establishment of The Shrine

The Establishment of The Shrine

According to the Nihon Shoki, around 2,000 years ago the divine Yamatohime-no-mikoto, daughter of the Emperor Suinin, set out from Mt. Miwa in modern Nara Prefecture in search of a permanent location to worship the goddess Amaterasumikami, wandering for 20 years through the regions of Ohmi and Mino. Her search eventually brought her to Ise, in modern Mie Prefecture, where she is said to have established Naikū after hearing the voice of Amaterasu-ōmikami saying "(Ise) is a secluded and pleasant land. In this land I wish to dwell." Before Yamatohime-no-mikoto's journey, Amaterasu-ōmikami had been worshiped at the imperial residence in Yamato, then briefly at Kasanui in the eastern Nara basin.

Besides the traditional establishment date of 4 BC, other dates of the 3rd and 5th centuries have been put forward for the establishment of Naikū and Gekū respectively. The first shrine building at Naikū was erected by Emperor Temmu (678-686), with the first ceremonial rebuilding being carried out by his wife, Empress Jito, in 692.

The shrine was foremost among a group of shrines which became objects of imperial patronage in the early Heian period. In 965, Emperor Murakami ordered imperial messengers to be sent to report important events to the guardian kami of Japan. These heihaku were initially presented to 16 shrines including the Ise Shrine.

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