At Naigū of Ise Jingu, besides the main shrine, there are numerous shrines from small ones to the formal large ones. There is one that is an important shrine but sort of hidden. It is called Mishine-no-mikura(御稲御倉).
This hidden small shrine is in between the main shrine and Aramatsuri-no-miya. When you are walking from the main shrine towards Aramatsuri-no-miya, it is on the left hand side. The shrine has a raised floor construction that is called Shinmei-zukuri (神明造). It has no fence around which makes us possible to observe closely. And when I observed closely, I realized that it was different from other storehouses. The roof has the golden decorations called Chigi (千木) and Katsuogi (鰹木) that is usually used only on a formal shrine. This signifies that this granary is no just a storehouse but a shrine.
When I pass through this granary, I could smell a nice warm scent of the rice ears. I always thought the granary would be full of rice ears that was harvested at the sacred rice field owned by Ise Jingu. Maybe it comes from the sacred rice field at Izawa-no-miya?
Since I have started the blog, I’ve been having the pleasure of receiving emails from people who work at Ise Jingu. One of the hidden stories they had told me was about this granary. The granary stores the rice ears but it also stores something very sacred. It is something that will be used in the new main shrine when it is rebuilt at the next Sengu. When I read about this, it really made sense to me. The reason why the rice ears granary is set very close to the main shrine is because it holds an important sacred object inside. By having it close to the main shrine, it will receive and be nurtured by the divine energy. Then the nurtured sacred item would be ready to reside in the newly built main shrine.
When you are visiting the Naigū, it would be a good idea to visit the Mishine-no-mikura (the granary) and send your gratitude. It would be worth it more than you could imagine. You would be wrapped by the divine energy of the sacred rice. This shrine is probably the closest you could get to sense the energy of Amateraru-ohomikami.
This sacred place that has a history of more than two thousand years carries so much unknown matters. It is fascinating how deep the culture of Nippon(Japan) is.
Thank you for letting us live