The main attraction of Ise is Ise Grand Shrine. It plays an important role in Shinto and only recently the new Emperor had been to visit to perform some enthronement ceremony or other. There are actually two shrines: an inner shrine in Ise itself and an outer shrine 6km away. It being nearly new year both shrines were quite busy. As with most shrines and temples photo opportunities were limited. I visited the outer shrine and then walked the 6km to the inner shrine. This is part of a much longer pilgrimage route but consisted of walking along the main road (so wasn’t that exciting).

Once you get near to the inner shrine you walk along Oharaimachi. It’s a pedestrianised road with lots of shops and restaurants. Half way along is Okage Yokocho which is a recreated old town. This is what it looks like.

I bought various food items more of which in another post. There was a big queue and I decided to do the traditional Japanese thing of joining it to see what was at the other end. It turned out to be these rather nice beef croquettes.

I also stopped for some Zenzai. This is something I have started to make at home so I didn’t let the opportunity of eating the real thing pass. It is a dessert. It’s kind of like a sweet red bean soup with a rice cake or mochi floating in it.

Eventually, several meals later, I got to the inner shrine. It had some nice gardens that looked good despite it being the middle of winter.

I did manage to get a photo of the approach to the main shrine (although not much of the shrine itself). This photo gives you an idea of the environment. The shrine is within a forested area.

People were queueing to pray at the outer gate of the shrine. Some, very smartly dressed, people were praying inside with the priests. I think you can pay extra for that privilege.