O sol e o peregrino em ISE
: um estudo moderno da peregrinação xintoísta a ISE, no Japão do século XXI

  • Diogo Miguel Carvalho Ramos (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The pilgrimage to Ise, known for Isemairi, is a journey that dates back to the late eighth century, in the early Heian period, where citizens of the upper strata of society headed to the city of Ise to worship one of the most important kami of the kingdom Amaterasu Ōmikami. To this sun deity, considered to be an ancestor of the Emperor and the imperial family, a shrine was built in Ise known as Ise Jingū (Grand Shrine of Ise) a complex of shrines restricted to the Japanese people. After opening its doors to the entire population of Japan in the late twenty-second century, its importance remained for nine centuries, making it one of the most important shrines throughout Japan. In 2013, the Ise Jingū was the target of 14 million visitors, an increase of 12.5 million when compared to the year of 1886 and, according to tourism statistics Ise for the period between 1886 and 2014, had never been achieved. Verifying this increase, which should be seen in light of contemporary and specifically as a result of new realities in the existence and use of free time and the development of means of travel, questions are put towards the continuity and evolution of what has been, for centuries, one of the larger pilgrimage experiences in Japan, with particular importance for example during the Tokugawa period. Through participation in a program called Ise Program, created by the University of Kogakkan in Ise, I was allowed to spend a month in this city, adjacent to the Ise Jingū and his most visited shrine, the Naiku (Inner Sanctum). With the aid of lectures, visits and the availability of professionals and locals, I was able to collect information about Ise, through a small field study, where I dedicated four days exclusively to the exploration and observation of the Naikū and its visitors. There are three distinct realities associated with the Ise Jingū, religious, led by the belief in Shinto kami; Patriotic, thanks to the Naikū deity from whom the whole imperial family descends; and tourism, present in numerous places in the city that takes advantage of the fame of this great complex of sanctuaries to develop tourist industries that contribute to the development and the image of the entire region of Ise-Shima. These same realities were chosen as hypotheses capable of representing the real reason to why many pilgrims perform the Isemairi. Thus, the problematic of this thesis focuses on the meanings behind the Isemairi in an attempt to find out which reasons lie behind those who perform it in the twenty-first century Japan.
Date of Award10 Mar 2015
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorAntónio Eduardo Hawthorne Barrento (Supervisor)


  • Ise Jingū
  • Shintō
  • Amaterasu Ōmikami
  • Patriotism
  • Tourism
  • Ise


  • Mestrado em Estudos Asiáticos

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