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The Ise Grand Shrine, also known as Ise Jingu, located in the city of Ise, in Japan, is one of Shinto's holiest and most important sites. The shrine complex contains over a hundred shrines distributed over an immense area, but its two most important shrines are Naiku—the inner shrine, and Geku—the outer shrine. The inner shrine is believed to date from the 3rd century and is held in higher reverence than the outer shrine, due to it being the purported home of the Sacred Mirror of the Emperor. 

What’s interesting about these shrine buildings is that the Naiku and Geku shrines, as well as the Uji Bridge, are rebuilt every twenty years—a tradition that has been going on for the past 1,300 years. The tradition is part of the Shinto belief of the death and renewal of nature and the impermanence of all things. It is also a way of passing down the skills and technique of building shrines from one generation to the next.

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The general public is not allowed to access the shrines beyond sight of the thatched roofs of the central structures, hidden behind four tall wooden fences. Photo credit: N yotarou/Wikimedia

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