When I was in Japan in 2006, I visited the Great Shrine of Ise. Every 20 years for the last two millennia it’s been rebuilt out of Japanese Cypress trees using ancient construction methods, so that it’s “forever new and forever ancient and original”. Only one priest(ess) can enter the central shrine, within which there is supposedly an ancient mirror cocooned in cloth bag after cloth bag. There are tame deer roaming the town, which just heightens the surreal / mythical qualities of the place.

There is an ancient forest there, and it looks like visitors have built tiny shrines to the huge trees. These small shrines were the most memorable for me.

You can’t tell from this photo, but this tree is absolutely huge. I could have easily crawled underneath it.

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