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Ise Jingu Grand Shrine

Kansai - South & Shima Peninsula

Shima-hanto and Kii-hanto - both peninsulars jutting out into the Pacific is home to Ise-Shima National Park and Ise Jingu- the most revered of all Japan’s Shinto shrines.

Travelling directly south from Osaka will take the visitor to the Kii-hanto with its densely forested mountains at the centre (Kii-sanchi) and craggy headlands and pine-covered islands and coves along its shoreline. It is a far cry from the rest of Kansai’s bustling urban sprawl although it has to be said most of the peninsula’s attractions can be found around the prefectural capital Wakayama.

The complex of temples at the top of Koya-san (Mt Koya) is an important Buddhist centre whilst there are several hot spring onsen resorts nearby. Good transport networks make this area perfectly accessible to the traveller with the JR Kii main line running between Shin-Osaka and Nagoya on the western side of the peninsula.

Crowds outside the Koya-san temple complex

Travelling anti-clockwise around the peninsula will take the traveller eventually to the Ise-Shima region in the Shima-hanto. Here can be found the Ise-jingu -the most revered of all Japan’s shinto shrines. The main shrine buildings are inaccessible and hidden from view - only the imperial family and some priests are permitted entry however the surrounding lesser shrines are exact replicas of the pre-Buddhist, 3th Century main shrine. [It should be remembered that all shrines in Japan and torn down and rebuilt after 20 years. The site itself is venerated rather than the materials used]


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