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According to the Nihon Shoki, the second-oldest book of Japanese history, around 2,000 years ago Princess Yamato-hime was ordered by her father, Emperor Suinin, to find a new, permanent shrine for the most important deity in the land, the great sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami. The princess, taking her task to heart, wandered the land for 20 years in search of a suitable home for the great goddess. Once she arrived in Ise, however, the goddess spoke to her and expressed a desire to establish her earthly abode in this bountiful area in between the mountains and the sea.

Ever since then, Ise Jingu shrine has been the home of Amaterasu Omikami, making it one of the most sacred places in Japan. The sun goddess resides in the Naiku, Inner Shrine — the most sacred shrine in Japan. Additionally, there’s also the Geku or Outer Shrine where Toyouke, the goddess of food and the harvest is enshrined. Today, the region on the eastern coast of the Shima Peninsula in Mie Prefecture is commonly called Ise-Shima, home to the historic town of Ise and the spectacular natural beauty of Ise-Shima National Park.

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