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Credit：Hall for sacred dances
Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine
Japan's oldest Shinto shrine
While Izumo Taisha is generally considered Japan’s oldest Shinto shrine, there is no record of when it was built, though early accounts mention its existence in the 700s. The current shrine was rebuilt in 1744 and enshrines Okuninushi, known as the creator of the lands of Japan and the deity of marriage. Indicating its importance in Shinto tradition, every year for a week in November, all eight million Shinto gods are said to gather at Izumo Taisha for a meeting, leaving the rest of Japan without gods.
As you approach the shrine, along a path flanked by 400-year-old cedar trees, avoid walking down the center, which is reserved for the gods. You will immediately notice the wooden worship hall, or haiden, garlanded with a large rice straw rope, called a shimenawa, which indicates that this is where a god dwells. The rope is just over six meters long and weighs around one ton. But there’s an even larger shimenawa, the largest in Japan, in front of the sacred dance hall. This one is over 13 meters long, weighs almost five tons and is eight meters wide at its thickest point and is re-made every six to eight years.