Sengukan Museum 式年遷宮記念せんぐう館
Discover the story behind the ritual destruction and renewal of Japan's most sacred Shinto shrine
For over 1,000 years, the main buildings at Ise-jingu Shrine have been ceremoniously torn down and rebuilt every two decades with wood from the surrounding cypress forests.
The process helps preserve ancient craft techniques, and renders the shrine eternal; a practice that is unique in the world. If you're not lucky enough to witness the great renewal (the next rebuilding takes place in 2033), you can learn more about the how and why behind this ritual at the Sengukan Museum.
- A faithful scale model replica of the Outer Shrine
- Insights into traditional craftsmanship that hint at the modern-day Japanese concept of monozukuri
Not only the shrine buildings but all the decorations and artifacts are remade every 20 years, a process which employs around 2,000 artisans and carpenters
The museum has multilingual audio guides available
How to Get There
The museum is accessible by train.
The museum is located outside the entrance to Ise-jingu Shrine's Outer Shrine.
The Kintetsu Railway can get you to the nearest rail link, Iseshi Station, in around 90 minutes from Nagoya Station, two hours from Osaka-Namba Station in Osaka, and two hours 30 minutes from Kyoto Station. The walk from Iseshi Station to the museum and the shrine's grounds takes about 10 minutes.
If you've decided to put Ise-jingu Shrine's Outer Shrine on your itinerary, make sure to stop by the Sengukan Museum, as it is conveniently located near the shrine's entrance.
Preserving traditions for the modern life
Here you can learn about the sacred meaning behind the careful, time-consuming process and the traditional building techniques that skilled carpenters have kept alive for more than a millennium.
Although you cannot see the Outer Shrine itself, at the museum you can view a faithful scale reproduction of the sanctuary's buildings. Other artifacts related to the area are on display as well. Free multilingual audio guides are available.