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An Introduction to Yamatohime and Yamatohime Shrine 倭姫宮の紹介

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Published on Jun 14, 2018

This video was created by the members (faculty, staff, students, and Ise residents) of the Japan-UK Comparative Culture Workshop (JUCCW) 日英比較文化研究会 at Kōgakkan University 皇學館大学 in Ise City 伊勢市, Japan in order to introduce Yamatohime and Yamatohime Shrine.

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There is an auxiliary shrine in the Ise Jingū shrine complex dedicated to Yamato-hime. Along with many other structures in the Jingū complex, it is completely rebuilt every twenty years as part of the shikinen sengū, or regular moving of the kami to a new residence.

In the early eighth century, the Chronicles of Japan was written to tell the history of Japan up until that time. In one part, it explained how one of Japan’s most revered deities, Amaterasu, came to be enshrined in the Ise Jingū shrine complex.

Amaterasu was originally located in the imperial palace together with another deity called Yamato-no-Ōkunitama. However, during the 10th emperor’s reign, he became concerned about their power and felt uncomfortable living together with them. He had them removed from the palace and enshrined elsewhere.

Amaterasu was contained in a sacred mirror that was first given to an imperial princess named Toyosuki-iri-hime, who enshrined the deity in the village of Kasanui. During the reign of the next emperor, an imperial princess named Yamato-hime was told to find a permanent place to enshrine Amaterasu. Yamato-hime took the deity with her as she traveled around Japan looking for a suitable place.

Eventually, Yamato-hime arrived in Ise. At that time, Amaterasu spoke to her, saying "The province of Ise, of the kamikaze, or divine wind, is the land whither repair the waves from the eternal world, the successive waves. It is a secluded and pleasant land. In this land I wish to dwell.”

If you are visiting Ise, Yamato-hime Shrine is just a short, 20-minute walk from the station at Ujiyamada to this shrine. This is a shrine that many modern-day pilgrims pass by on their way from the Outer to the Inner Shrine, but it is worth taking a few minutes to enjoy the site.

While you are there, you may want to also visit The Museum of Shinto and Japanese Culture across the street at Kōgakkan University or the nearby Jingū Chōkokan Museum, Jingū Museum of Fine Arts, and Jingū Agricultural Museum.

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