Hinjitsukan and Meoto Iwa: A Froggy Stroll Along the Coast of the Ise Bay
Ise City, along the coast of the Ise Bay, is home to a plethora of stunning sights and experiences, all steeped in ancient Japanese mythology and Shinto mysticism. I took a train down to quaint Futaminoura Station one evening to have a look around.
Hinjitsukan and Meoto Iwa are must-see stops if you’re anywhere around Nagoya or Mie, especially if you’re in town to see Ise Shrine.
My otaku side brought me to Nagoya, Japan in 2012, but I stayed for the food, countryside towns, and gorgeous mountain scenery. I was born and raised on the east coast of the US, but I dare say I never grew up. I never shut up about Japan.
Caption: The building has gone through a number of renovations and expansions, but at its core, the original structure remains.
The Hinjitsukan that you see today is the product of the renovations of the 1930’s. The architects clearly managed to retain the original atmosphere of the place. Once you have a look around inside, you too will get a sense that you’re back in the 1800’s.
In 2003, a non-profit organization began managing the building and reopened it to the public as a museum. Then in 2010, it became officially recognized as an important cultural asset of Japan.
Caption: I often mention the local manhole covers in my articles about Japan. They truly are works of art. This one depicts the sun rising over Meoto Iwa.
Nobody seems sure if they should say “Meoto Iwa”, or translate the name into “the Married Rocks” or “the Wedded Rocks”, but when in Rome, right? Meoto Iwa is one of the most iconic sights of Japan.
The waters here are said to be very pure. There’s even an ancient practice called “Hamasangu”, which is when worshipers bound for Ise Shrine would come here to first purify themselves in the waters before continuing on their pilgrimage.
Caption: This fine young man guards the way to the shrine. I hope you’re on your best behavior.
Walking through the torii gate at the entrance transports you to the divine realm and puts you on the path toward Futamiokitama Shrine. But first you’ll pass Amanoiwaya, a cave where the sun god Amaterasu once hid from the world, leaving it plunged into darkness. As it’s a sacred place, you can’t go in, but stop by to say a quick prayer.