Shinto Shrine Izumo Taisha
Japan, Chugoku region

Izumo Taisha, one of Japan's oldest Shinto shrines, is located 6.5 km west of the city of Izumo in Shimane Prefecture. The time of the foundation of the temple is not known exactly, but there is an assumption that it was founded in the first century. The main building, 24 meters high, is rebuilt every 60 years. The Japanese believe that the temple, regularly updated, will exist forever, following the example of the seasons, replacing each other and invariably returning every year. The temple, built in a Japanese architectural style called Taisha style, served as a model for many of Japan's iconic buildings. The roof of the building is made of wooden beams adjacent to each other, and the central column of the temple was a prototype of the axial mast during the construction of pagodas. The entire temple complex, located in a relatively small area, begins with massive bronze gates. Gates lead to the "Fortune-telling Hall". At the very entrance to the hall, the so-called "Simenawa", a huge Japanese rope, weighs. This rope, woven from rice straw, reaches a length of 13 meters and weighs approximately 500 kilograms. For visitors to the temple, an opportunity to get inside the sanctuary, recognized as a national treasure of Japan, is open. Here, tourists can enjoy the refined interior. The interior of the Izumo shrine does not amaze the imagination with its brightness and richness of jewelry, but with strict restraint and simplicity. It is believed that in the temple of Izumo-taisha in the month of kamiarizuki, which falls on the 10th month of the lunar calendar, all Shinto gods from all over the country gather, an approximate number of which reaches 8 million. In other provinces, this month is called kannazuki, which accordingly means “a month without gods”. Izumo is a favorite place for marriages in the Land of the Rising Sun. Many come here to pray for a successful family life. Visitors clap their hands four times during prayer, twice for themselves and twice for their actual or desired partner. The birth of the world famous classical theater of Kabuki is also associated with the Izumo shrine. One of the temple's priestesses was the most skilled performer of sacred dance-prayers - Nembutsu-odori. These performances were a prototype of the famous Kabuki theater. In memory of this, theatrical performances are held annually at the Izumo Shrine.

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