Monday, August 25, 2008

Twenty years of visiting Ise - Part 5

We took the bus to go to Naigū. It has been years since I have taken a public bus. My wife and I were getting some change ready. It was 200 yen until the last stop all of the sudden, it went up to 410 yen! I would recommend you to get off at Okage-yokocho and walk. It will be cheaper.

We got to Naigū around 1:30 pm. The heat was intense. For older people and people with health problems, I would recommend to visit early in the morning. Spiritually, it is always better before 9:30 am. I have heard that many of the African tribes who worship the sun believe that the sun god only appears at sunrise and sunset. During the day, the sun god is not present.

When I sent my gratitude at the honden, main shrine, of Naigū, I sensed the seventh rank of Amaterasu-Ohomikami. I could see one Light Pillar standing toward heaven on the left side of the ground of sengu. The path behind the main shrine toward Aramatsuri-no-miya, the scenery is quite spectacular. However, this time, a fence was made and was no longer able to see the view. This time I didn’t sense anything at Aramatsuri-no-miya. I bought a Ken-barai-fuda*(charm) at the Naigū shrine office.

After leaving the shrine, we went to Okage-yokocho to have some ice shaves. When I looked at my shoes, it was covered with white dust from the gravel walk. I was going to clean it when we got back to the hotel, but ended up wearing it all the way back home. I felt this could be a souvenir for my house. Instead of taking the bus, we took a taxi back to the parking lot. If you are more than a party of four, it will be cheaper to take a taxi. During the taxi ride, the taxi driver told us an interesting story. He said that due to the exposure to the sunray, skin diseases are occurring within the taxi drivers. They had requested UV protection sheets to be applied on the car windows but was rejected. He said, “Even in Ise, we might need sun glasses like the one they wear at the South Pole,” kind of half joking and laughing.

After saying goodbye to my sister’s family, we went to a Shinto goods store near the entrance of Gegū and bought a hemp bark. I apply this bark to the tip of the core bar on my eight-legged altar. The god spirits reside on tree barks.

The next day, we went all the way to Sakamoto, Shiga Prefecture to a special soba restaurant. This Tsuruki-soba is a purveyor to the Imperial Household. The restaurant built 120 years ago had a nice atmosphere. I sensed that this area is a patrol course for the monkey ogres, who are the kenzoku spirits of Susanoo in the lower rank. Maybe it has to do with being close to the shrine, Hiyoshi-Taisha*. Such as this soba restaurant, when the local spirits are worshipped, they would receive protection and last long. The trip has come to an end. We drove back home looking at Lake Biwa on the way.

Ikashite-itadaite Arigato-gozaimasu

Thank you for letting us live

Ken-barai-fuda 剣祓札:A rare charm sold specially at The Grand Shrine of Ise (or Ise-jingu). It is rare because it has a special kind of tree bark wrapped on the top of the wooden piece inside the charm which is the old traditional way of making a proper charm.

Hiyoshi-Taisha 日吉大社:Located in Sakamoto, Shiga. The shrine was first built in the 8th century but was burnt when Oda Nobunaga destroyed the shrine along with Enrayku-ji temple. Hideyoshi Toyotomi constructed the existing buildings in the last quarter of the16th century. His name during childhood was “Hiyoshi-maru” and his nickname was “Saru” which means monkey.

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