Ise is rebuilt for the 101st time…

Posted on Saturday, May 12th, 02007 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
link Categories: Long Term Thinking   chat 0 Comments

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Every 20 years the Shinto temple at Ise is rebuilt. It is an exact copy of the one that has stood there for the last twenty years. They alternate the sites so that they can complete one before taking down the last. Depending on which source you trust, this has been going on, in one fashion or another, for between 500 and 2000 years. They have already begun the rebuild for 02013 by harvesting the cypress trees (shown above as they were walked through Tokyo’s Rappongi district during the ‘Okihiki’ event on Feb 4th 02007).

The 20 year cycle is an interesting one. It is just long enough for one generation to teach the next. This tradition has allowed this structure, made of rice paper and wood, to last at least centuries. Below is a very rare picture of both temples. Right as one was completed, and before the last was disassmebled.

  • BenGreen

    I wonder if they recycle the wood from previous incarnations or if they use only new wood each time. If it’s the latter, what do they do with the used wood? If I recall correctly, the ceder they get for each incarnation of the structure is from the same grove they’ve been harvesting from since the original.

  • My understanding is that the pieces of the old temple are sent to other Shinto temples around Japan as holy objects.

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