Biwako Valley Cherry Blossoms Festival – See Sakura at Ski Resort in Shiga
Osaka, Kyoto and Kansai
Have you ever heard the words “Sanshu no Jingi” （三種の神器）? It means “three kinds of God’s holy treasures” literally. Three kinds of holy treasures the sword, the mirror, and the jewel. According to a legend, in the ancient times, they were handed to a grandchild from the goddess of the sun – Amaterasu. Since these treasures have been inherited by the imperial family.
Even now, they are the imperial regalia and symbolize the primary values of courage, wisdom, and benevolence. Three treasures are legendary and sacred items in Shintoism and are therefore kept concealed from the public in separate locations. The sword is at Atsuta shrinein Nagoya, Aichi. The mirror is at Meiji Jingu shrine in Tokyo. And the jewel is at Ise Grand Shrine, Mie Prefecture, which makes it one of the most sacred shrines in Japan.
In this article, I would like to introduce you Ise Grand Shrine (伊勢神宮） in Mie prefecture, and the cherry blossoms which Uji-bashi (宇治橋） bridge close to the shrine.
Ise Grand Shrine is known to almost all Japanese people of all ages. People call this shrine “Oise-san” in a friendly manner. Ise Jingu consists of the inner shrine – “Naigu,” the outer shrine – “Geku,” and 14 smaller shrines. However, people mainly visit Naigu only, or both Naigu & Geku.
At Naigu, the goddess of the sun, Amaterasu is enshrined. She is the supreme deity who is in heaven. I recommend you pray for peace, better fortune, and good luck to Amaterasu. People believe that evil spirits will drive away if you say “Amaterasu” ten times.
On the other hand, in Geku shrine you will meet with the deity of eating is. So, many people pray for things which they wear, eat, and use in their daily life. This deity is also responsible for the prosperous business. No wonder that Ise Grand Shrine is a famous power spot.
When visiting Naigu, all the people across the big bridge – Uji-bashi which is 101.8 meters in length, and 8.42 meters in width. The bridge’s surface is made with hinoki (檜）, Japanese cedar, and other parts are of Keyaki (欅）, zelkova tree. You can see two Torii, gateways, at the entrance to shrine, on both sides of the bridge. When you see this torii, you will definitely feel something sacred and purifying. Some people say that this bridge is the place connecting the actual world and the sacred world. It would be polite if you bow one time to the shrine before crossing the bridge.
Beautiful cherry blossoms in Naigu have been very popular among people since the Edo period. You can see cherry blossoms at both Naigu, and Geku, but especially those around Uji-bashi in Naigu are the most beautiful. A lot of Somei Yoshino and Prunus yedoensis cherry trees bloom fully from the end of March to the beginning of April. The combination of cherry blossoms’ pink, surroundings’ green, and reflection on the waters of Isuzugawa river is stunning. Many people choose April for visiting Ise Grand Shrine to view cherry blossoms when the bloom is on its peak. The cherry blossoms here are the best in Mie prefecture, and this place is in “100 beautiful cherry blossoms spots” list in Japan.
When you visit Ise Grand Shrine, the place you should stop by is Okage Yokocho, a street next to the shrine. This street features a lot of restaurants, souvenir shops, food shops, where there is a large variety of local specialties. Some gourmet people say that Okage Yokocho is full of food shops, where you can try something very delicious that you cannot find anywhere else. One of the most popular and tasty souvenirs is the local rice cake with strained bean paste – “Akafuku Mochi.
Place: Ise Grand Shrine
Address：1, Ujitachi-cho, Ise-shi, Mie Prefecture
Cherry Blossoming Time： End of March to Beginning of April
Inquiry： TEL:0596-24-1111 （Ise Jingu Naigu）
Official Website: http://www.isejingu.or.jp/en/index.html
・ Nearest bus stop to Naigu is “Naigu Mae”
・20 minutes by bus from Kintetsu Line Ujiyamada station
・20 minutes by bus from Kintetsu Line Ise-shi station
Ise Grand Jingu is one of the most popular shrines in Japan. Over 600,000 people visit it for praying in a year. Even the prime minister and imperial family visit here sometimes. So, this place is always crowded, especially in January. People visit this shrine for Hatsumode (初詣）, the first visit of the year to shrine. But I hope that you will visit here in April and admire the beautiful cherry blossoms and Japanese spring.
If you would like to explore this sacred place and Mie prefecture together with a local guide, please check the banner below!
Cherry blossoms are an essential part of Japanese culture. And, viewing cherry blossoms (Hanami) is very popular in Japan during the spring. This is because cherry blossoms, which the Japanese call “Sakura” are stunning at this season.
If you are planning to visit Japan this spring and want to discover more cherry blossoms spots in Kyoto area, please check the following article. It’s covering the best Hanami spots in the old capital and provides you with the essential information, so you can get the most from your Sakura trip!
Here’s the link. URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/2566/
Osaka is very close to Kyoto. It will be a miss if you don’t visit Osaka to see cherry blossoms when you are in the Kansai area in spring. Please check the following article to find out the best cherry blossoms viewing spots in Osaka and Kansai!
Kyoto and Osaka have many beautiful spots to see Cherry blossoms. However, other areas also have excellent places for hanami. Tokyo features many of those spots as well! If you are in Tokyo around spring and looking for a place to see cherry blossoms, Why don’t you check the following article?
A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!
Japan is a country of festivals indeed. Matsuri is an essential part of traditional Japanese culture. Thus, every day somewhere in Japan a festival takes place. There are traditional and modern festivals, on the sea and on the ground, in summer and winter. Japanese are hardworking people. However, when you attend at least one festival in Japan, you will understand how locals like to party. The article under the link below will introduce you to a celebration on any day of the year. I am sure you will find an event that suits your interests utmost!