Religion & Philosophy at Lyon College


Nichols Japan Trip -- Days 9-10

Day 9-10 (May 21-22) -- Ise and Toba (Pearl Island)

[click on the thumbnail pictures to see the full size photographs]

This morning Kay Yamada treated us to a nice American style breakfast of toast, coffee, bacon, and scrambled eggs.

Lyon is everywhere you are! This cafe was a block from Hanazono University

At Hanazono University we sat in on a class on Zen literature in English translation taught by Jeff Shore. We all enjoyed the class immensely.

On the way to Ise.

City of Ise.

Sacred vehicle across from the entrance to the Outer Shrine.

Entrance to the grounds of the Outer Shrine, Geku.

Geku honors the kami Toyoke Omi-kami, patron of clothes, food and housing.

Geku was a beautiful wooded area with gravel pathways that led you to the shrine. -JP

I enjoyed touring the shrine and the continuosly rebuilt structures impressed me. -MR

One of the many buildings of the Outer Shrine that are periodically rebuilt.

The cypress wood work is beautiful in its simplicty and workmanship.

The trees in the shrine reminded us of the California Redwoods.

Isuzu River running through Naiku, the Inner Shrine.

Peaceful walkway entering Naiku. Naiku is dedicated to Amaterasu, kami of the sun and ancestor of imperial family.

Sacred garden of bonsai trees.

There is a serene quality that permeates the gardens of Ise.

The Mitarashi is a short section along the Isuzu River where pilgrims wash their hands and mouths before going further into the shrine's grounds.

A small shrine along the walkway.

Stone stairs leading up to the famous Inner Shrine.

We were only allowed as far as this torii. The famous Inner Shrine is not open to anyone other than Shinto priests and the imperial family. To see pictures of the buildings of the Inner Shrine go to, a website created by Henry Smith of Columbia University.

These next few pictures were all we could see of the Inner Shrine complex.

Naiku, just as Geku, is rebuilt every 20 yrs to maintain the generational cycle of teh Shinto traditions, and can only be visted by the imperial family. Therefore, it was a bit disappointing not being able to see much of the most importan shrine in Shinto. -JH

In the forground is the site of the previous (and next) set of buildings to make up the shrine complex.

The small building to the right rests over the place that the sacred treasures of Ise -- including Amaterasu's mirror -- are kept when the new buildings are erected.

Steps leading to a nearby shrine.

This shrine is a smaller, simpler version of the main building of the Inner Shrine.

The integration of nature and human creation is a hallmark of Shinto shrines.

Bridge leading out of Naiku.

Ise Train Station.

We are heading to Toba--Pearl Island.

Ship in the harbor of Toba.

Pearl Island - statue of Kokichi Nikimoto.

This is the place where Kokichi Mikimoto for the first time in history successfully developed a method to cultivate pearls. -JH

The story of his life was shaped strongly by his Buddhism--he regularly attended a local Buddhist temple and was known by elderly folks there for his back massages! He also was an avid collector of images of a kami who is a guardian of the sea. He placed a large stone image of the kami on the sea floor near his oyster beds. Nineteen year later, he hauled it up and found it was covered by oysters. Since then it has had an honored place on the island. -PCB

Pearl Diving Demonstration at Pearl Island.

Ama -- women pearl divers.

Traditionally women have worked as pearl divers, presumably because of their greater capacity for holding their breath.

Ama tie themselves to a floating barrel that will hold the oysters they bring up.

We toured the island and museum, "then we got to shop! I was in paradise. Pearls have always been my favorite..." -JP

Click here for  Days 1-2 -- Arriving in Tokyo and on to Kyoto

Click here for Day 3 -- First full day in Kyoto (May 15)

Click here for Day 4 -- Day trip to Nara (May 16)

Click here for Day 5 -- "Path of Philosophy" in Eastern Kyoto (May 17)

Click here for Day 6 -- Western and South Central Kyoto including Gion Corner (May 18)

Click here for Day 7 -- Day trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima (May 19)

Click here for Day 8 -- Free Day (May 20)

Click here for Days 11 & 12 -- Tokyo to U.S.A. (May 23-24)


For more information about Lyon College's Nichols Study Abroad programs click here: 


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