Jingu and the Gods

Amaterasu Omikami, the ancestor of the Emperor of Japan used to be worship together with sacred mirror in the Imperial palace. However, due to an epidemic and severe famine that occurred during the era of the 10th emperor, the sacred mirror was shifted outside of the palace to a special place by the banks of Isuzugawa River, which is currently the main sanctuary of Kotaijingu (Naiku). During the ruling of the 21st emperor, another revelation from Amaterasu Omikami prompted the shift of Toyouke no Omikami, the provider of sacred foods and the guardian of industry and food, to Geku. Every 20 years, Amaterasu-Omikami and the other deities are relocated to newly constructed buildings at the same site by Jingu priests in a special ritual called Shikinen Sengu. While visitors learn more about the Sengu ceremony at Sengukan, they can also view the real sacred treasures at Chokokan. Since rice—the staple food of the Japanese—holds a symbolic position in Japan, the first rice of the year harvested in Jingu is dedicated to Amaterasu Omikami as a form of gratitude for blessing the land with abundant harvests. Every year especially on New Year Day, it is customary for people from all over Japan to make a pilgrimage to Jingu to offer their sincere prayers for a good year ahead.